Tamil Union, Colts in hot pursuit of leaders SSC
Premier League Tier A
Tamil Union and Colombo Colts kept up the pressure on table leaders Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) by recording their second wins of the season in the ongoing Premier League Tier A tournament. Both teams grabbed maximum points on a rain-hit weekend when the rest of the matches ended in draws.
Tamil Union consolidated their second position in the standings with a comprehensive seven-wicket win over defending champions Bloomfield.
Two of Sri Lanka's promising fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Isuru Udana combined well to dismiss Bloomfield for a moderate 178 in the first innings after the home team opted to bat. The duo took six wickets between them and received good support from their captain Sachithra Serasinghe who picked up four wickets with his probing offbreaks.
Tamil Union were boosted by a career-best knock of 121 by former Sri Lanka Under-19 player Kithuruwan Vithanage. With supporting half-centuries from another former Sri Lanka U-19 player Ashan Priyanjan and Serasinghe, Tamil Union built up a first-innings lead of 154.
Lakmal pushed Bloomfield on the back foot with an early breakthrough in the second innings when he got through the defences of in-form opener Dilshan Munaweera for nought off the third ball. From there onwards it was an uphill task for the home team to avoid defeat. Despite a plucky 98 off 120 balls from captain Chamara Silva, Bloomfield could manage only 276 which gave Tamil Union a target of 123.
They achieved their target on the third day before lunch after a shaky beginning that saw them lose three wickets for 30 before Priyanjan and Serasinghe steered them home with successive half-centuries in the match. Sri Lanka Test wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, returning from surgery, displayed great skill behind the wickets to snare six victims, which included five in the first innings.
Colts thumped Moors Sports Club by eight wickets at Havelock Park. Dilruwan Perera scored a half-century and grabbed a match haul of eight wickets with his offspin. Colts' batting was inspired by the two young Silvas (no relation) - Anuk who was unfortunately dismissed hit wicket, ten short of his maiden first-class hundred and Roshen who went onto remain unbeaten on 132 out of Colts' total of 398.
Moors' first innings was destroyed by tall right-arm quick Kanishka Alvitigala, who recently toured South Africa as replacement for the injured Nuwan Pradeep. In a sustained spell of fast bowling Alvitigala took 4 for 26 off 16 overs as Moors were dismissed for 196.
Following-on they slumped to 142 for 7 before a stand of 70 between Udara Peiris and Irosh Samarasooriya saw them avoid an innings thrashing. Left with 51 to chase, Colts got home in eight overs after losing both openers.
SSC were denied their second win of the season by some stubborn resistance put up by Ragama Cricket Club's batsmen led by opener Ian Daniel. After Ragama were forced to follow-on 223 runs in arrears on the first innings, Daniel stuck it out for 209 balls to compile an unbeaten 117, his second century of the season. He received solid support from the lower order as Ragama escaped with a draw scoring 292 for 7 in their second innings.
SSC piled up an imposing 425 for 4 declared riding on opener Dimuth Karunaratne's maiden first-class double hundred - an unbeaten 210 off 285 balls. SSC still maintain a slender lead at the top of the table. Ragama remained in fourth place but had Chilaw Marians breathing down their backs.
In spite of their fifth draw of the season, Chilaw Marians picked up valuable points in their game against Badureliya Sports Club at the Surrey Village Ground. Chilaw's slow-left armer Malinda Pushpakumara took eight wickets in the match to retain his position as the leading wicket-taker of the season with 30 victims from five matches.
Nondescripts Cricket Club continued to remain at the bottom of the table after they conceded first-innings points to Lankan Cricket Club in what could be termed as a shock result. After being asked to bat, Lankan CC batsmen rattled up an impressive 424 largely through their openers Ashen Silva, who went onto score a career-best 175, and Deshan Dias, who scored 69 in a stand of 110.
Former Sri Lanka player Jehan Mubarak's undefeated knock of 127 proved a vain effort as Nondescripts could muster only 292. They were dismantled by the pace of former Sri Lanka fast bowler Sujeewa de Silva (5 for 58) and the 22-year-old left-armer Vimukthi Perera who took his first five-for (5 for 69).
Premier League Tier B
Sri Lanka Army moved to the top of the Premier League Tier B standings when they thrashed Sri Lanka Navy by an innings at their home ground in Panagoda. Navy were clueless against the legspin of Seekkuge Prasanna who took ten wickets in the match including 7 for 52 in the first innings to rout the opposition for scores of 119 and 208.
While Navy slumped to their first defeat of the season, Burgher Recreation Club capitalized on their chances to move to third slot nine points behind Navy when they beat Colombo Cricket Club by four wickets. Burgher used nine bowlers in each of CCC's innings.
Saracens Sports Club also made steady progress up the table moving to fourth position with their second win. They pulled off a narrow 24-run victory over Panadura Sports Club.
Air Force lost their No.3 position when they conceded first-innings points to Police Sports Club in a match where they were lucky to escape with a draw having been reduced to 171 for 8 chasing 266.