Premier League Tournament 2015-16 March 6, 2016

Tamil Union win first-class title after 65 years


File photo - Dhananjaya de Silva scored 868 runs at an average of 54.25 and also picked up 34 wickets at 14.23 in the tournament © AFP

Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club have won Sri Lanka's top first-class competition for the first time since the 1950-51 season, after finishing the Super Eights with four outright wins. Their six-wicket victory against second-placed Galle Cricket Club, in the final round of four-day cricket, clinched the trophy.

Captain Suranga Lakmal was instrumental in that win, claiming 4 for 20, as Galle CC collapsed to 126 all out in the second innings. That bowling performance allowed Tamil Union back into the match, having trailed Galle CC by 152 runs in the first dig.

"We're absolutely elated with the result," Tamil Union vice president Suresh Murugaser said. "Suranga has been outstanding for us, and has really led from the front. In the last match he was bowling with a fractured finger."

Opening batsman Dhananjaya de Silva, who played two T20s for Sri Lanka last year, also played a significant hand to this victory, hitting 124 from 131 balls in the chase of 279. He has been in good form all season, scoring 868 runs at an average of 54.25, and has also been Tamil Union's leading wicket-taker, claiming 34 scalps at 14.23 with his offspin.

Other lead contributors to Tamil Union's campaign include former Sri Lanka Test batsman Tharanga Paranavitana, who was the tournament's top runscorer, with 953 runs at an average of 79.41. He had hit three centuries and five fifties in 17 innings. Legspinning allrounder Jeevan Mendis claimed 32 wickets and scored 574 runs as well.

Elsewhere in the league table, Colombo Cricket Club's left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan appears set to finish the competition's top wicket-taker for the second time in three seasons. He claimed 52 wickets at 23.19, with two five-wicket hauls, and is two wickets clear of Galle CC offspinner Suraj Randiv. Ragama Cricket Club's left-arm spinner Amila Aponso currently sits on 47 wickets, with his team's final day of play this season still ongoing.

Spinners' domination of another year of first-class cricket in Sri Lanka will not ease concerns over the quality of pitches in the domestic competition, however. Each of the 15 highest wicket-takers this season is a spinner, and among those, eight are left-arm orthodox bowlers. Only Sandakan, Mendis and Tharindu Kaushal (who took 42 wickets at 28.11) bowl wrist-spin, from among the top 15.

The Premier League tournament is the only first-class competition to be played this season, with the SLC now having scrapped plans for a provincial tournament.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Priyal on March 9, 2016, 13:43 GMT

    I saw the couple T20s Internationals that Dhanajaya played (against Pakistan). He looks like a steady bat and would be good alongside Chandimal at the top of the order. I am not sure why Shehan J has been preferred to Dhanajaya. I think he should have been picked for the recent Asia cup as well as the Indian T20s and should have been taken to the T20WC.

  • Cricinfouser on March 7, 2016, 14:52 GMT

    There has to be an incentive for 1st class cricketers in SL that the best bowler and best batsman will be incorporated in to the National squad and go on tour. That way, there is some motivation and a goal to aim for. Further, they should be rewarded financially for their achievements (pay for performance). Consistency is what we are missing at all levels and complacency of those who are in the National pool must be challenged, to ficus their minds to perform. I believe players be given a run of 6 games where they have to make two significant contributions to the team. Which means they have to have a 33% success rate which is setting the bar fairly low. This allows for the difference in performance level between our domestic and International. The world has progressed while we basked in past glories and stood still

  • udendra on March 7, 2016, 13:48 GMT

    Hold on people, the premier league is not a T20 tournament.

  • sachit on March 7, 2016, 8:09 GMT

    SL have tried youngsters and its been disastrous. Maybe it's time to look back on the players whose talents were not fully utilized like Jeevan Mendis.

  • Ajith on March 7, 2016, 6:15 GMT

    Congrats Tamil Union. Eye opener for the SL selectors to try some of these players especially after the mediocre performances of the current National team at recent tours and tournaments.

  •   Raj Gunawardena on March 6, 2016, 20:14 GMT

    It is high time to bring "tharanga" back to make the middle order stronger. experimenting with too many youngsters also does not seems to work (didn`t win a single series after last world cup other than WI series). Also it is sad to see they use thisara very low down the order & also as a front line bowler. He never was a good bowler unless support is their in the pitch. If he gets more time to bat, he will defiantly be very effective (sanath j came to the team as all rounder batting low but how destructive was he as a opener ! same with dili.). So should send him either to open (remember sanath came to team as a allrounder batting how ). Probably at the world cup they should play 1) Dili 2) Thisara/Kapu 3) Chandi 4) Tharanga 5) Kapu/ Thisara 6) Milinda 7) Angelo 8) Herath/Sena 9) Kula / Sena/Lakmal (depending on pitch) 10) Malinga 11) Chamia after the WC they should experiment with one or two new comers at a time not putting a whole bunch of new players in each and every match.

  •   Piwithuru Sannasgala on March 6, 2016, 15:46 GMT

    Tharanga has maintained his domestic T20 record in more number of matches than the rest with 10 x 50s and scored 1,800 runs, which is almost double the amount of many. Upula had not been given any chance in T20 international (despite good domestic records) since a single match in 2011 and the other 8 were played 10 year ago in 2006/7 as a rookie. T20: 70 ins -1,806 runs - Ave: 27 - SR 125 - 12 x 50. This guy has maintained the balanced record almost double the number of T20 matches the rest have played and have the highest batting Average 127 with 125 SR. (better than Chandimal SR 118, Dilly Av 26 /SR 122, & better than Kapu Av 22 , Milinda 19 Av)

    Domestic T20 records:

    Dickwella- 22. Av - 138 SR

    Shehan J- 19 Av - 114 SR

    Munaweera 20 Av - 122 SR

    Thirimanne 23 Av - 119 SR

    Dhanushka 25 Av - 128.SR

    Tharanga - 27 Av - 125 SR

    Dhanjaya has played just 27 ins in domestic T20 & has 34 Av / 138 SR, a better record among rookies who were selected to the WC squad.


  • Ranil on March 6, 2016, 14:30 GMT

    Sri Lankan cricket is at low ebb internationally at present. Something to happen after 65 years, when the cricket standard is poor in the country, is it reflective of the current state?

  • Kepili on March 6, 2016, 13:44 GMT

    @CHETHAN : We had 12 series defeats inside past 12 months. Didn't we learn a lesson yet? by experimenting all kinds of rookies based on, domestic purple patches limited to a season (some not even played a season)? Now compare the stats of DHANAJAYA & UPUL in recent Premier League:

    - UPUL : 15 in - 803 runs - 62 Av- 172 HS - 3 x consecutive 100+ & 3 x 50+

    - Dhanajaya: 17in - 868 runs -54 AV - 150 HS - 3 x 100+ & 4 x 50+

    Don't forget, unlike the bunch eyeing for opening spot, Upul had maintained his FC career over 15 years & in domestic FC (without 5 day Tests) he has even a better batting Av than Sanga.

    Domestic 1st-Class Records WITHOUT Tests (5-day Tests provide the benefit to play longer innings):

    -Sanga : 159 in - 11 NO - 5,981 runs - 40 Av (Test Av 57 from 133 Tests)

    -Upul T: 174 in - 8 NO - 7,032 runs - 43 Av.

    No place for him even in a Squad in any format. Even his domestic T20 Av 127 /SR 125 better than all rookies & Dilly Av 26 SR 122.!


  • Kepili on March 6, 2016, 13:31 GMT


    In Odis Upul has 5k international runs scored from 157 ins as 2nd fastest SL and World's 2nd best Consistency as No1 Opener scoring 100+ (only behind HM Amla) & 50+ scores (Only 2nd to GC Smith) facing less than 4,000 balls. UT: 38x 50+ (with 13x100) - 3,166r @102 Av- 83 SR.

    How come Kusal Perera considered as the man to Open Odis after totally destroying nearly 50% of his odis (20 innings) to collect 71 runs - 3.5 Av - 55 SR (mostly ended under 10 balls)? Sinking 50 odis to achieve a couple of match winning innings? Is this the prices SL have to pay to justify him a "REGULAR" opener?

    Now look at Tharanga's match winning contributions in ODIs: Out of his 172 odi innings, 93 matches were won - 54% of his total ins- (better than Sanga 52% Dilly 51% MJ 52%)!

    UT's overall contribution in those winning matches: 93 ins - 3,533 r @ 42 Av - 78 SR - 11x100 - 17x50

    NO place for him even in a 15 member Squad in any Format. Why?

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