Ragama CC concede lead to SSC
Premier League Tier A
Ragama CC, who had headed the Premier League Tier 'A' points table from the start of the season, lost their hold on the lead when they suffered their first loss, going down to defending champions Bloomfield by 142 runs. As a result, they slumped to fourth spot in the standings which is now headed by Sinhalese SC.
It was nothing but pure rank bad batting that contributed to Ragama's downfall, being dismissed for 191 in the first innings and 290 in the second after they were set a target of 433 against a bowling attack they should have easily dominated. Bloomfield scored 300-plus in both innings, largely due to the contributions made by their in-form opener Dilshan Munaweera, who played two sparkling innings of 71 off 65 balls and 101 off 113 balls. He was well supported by his captain former Panadura SC and Sri Lanka batsman Chamara Silva, who made twin fifties. The only individual who stood tall for Ragama was wicketkeeper-batsman Sameera de Zoysa who scored 80 not out and 128. The damage to the Ragama batting was done by Bloomfield's right and left-arm fast bowling combination of Tyron Gamage and Vishwa Fernando who took 14 wickets between them.
SSC, who moved into second spot after the second week, seized their chance to head the table when they got the better of a high-scoring draw against Chilaw Marians at Maitland Place. Chilaw Marians looked like they were headed for a rather moderate total when SSC invited them to bat first and reduced them to 234 for 8. But a fine rearguard action from the tail saw them reach a competitive 425. Sri Lanka Test cricketer Shaminda Eranga and last man Arosh Janoda were involved in a last-wicket partnership of 123 off 26.1 overs with both players recording career-best scores. Eranga, primarily a right-arm fast bowler, went onto score a maiden first-class hundred and Janoda made 68. SSC responded magnificently by piling up 542 for 7 declared.
The captain Kaushal Silva led the way with a patient 141 off 246 balls and was involved in two big stands of 169 with Sri Lanka Test opener Tharanga Paranavitana (93) and of 146 with Thilina Kandamby (74). Geeth Alwis, the former Saracens left-hander then took on the role of anchorman to further frustrate the Chilaw Marians bowlers figuring in a partnership of 144 of the sixth wicket with Kaushal Lokuarachchi (77). SSC declared their innings closed soon after Alwis had reached three-figures, his first for SSC. With nothing to play for, Chilaw Marians batted out time to be 103 for 4 in their second innings.
Tamil Union moved to second place in the standings when they dominated their drawn game against Nondescripts CC. Only opener Yohan de Silva stood firm as Sri Lanka fast bowler Isuru Udana ran amock taking five NCC wickets to restrict them to a total of 315. Yohan scored a well-paced 111 off 256 balls and held up one end as wickets continued to tumble from the other. Tamil Union launched a strong reply and passed NCC's total losing only three wickets. But there middle and late order batsmen failed to keep the momentum going and folded up tamely, the last seven wickets falling for just 53 runs.
Tamil Union's overseas player Varun Chopra missed out on his second double-hundred of the season when he was dismissed for 192. Along with one-drop batsman Kithruwan Vithanage (98), Chopra added 169 for the second wicket. Having restricted Tamil Union's first-innings lead to just 99, NCC batsmen found form in their second innings to score 303 for 7. They were four down for 70 before Chamara Kapugedera and promising middle-order bat Angelo Perera dispelled any thoughts Tamil Union had of pulling off a late victory when they put together a face-saving partnership of 196. Kapugedera went onto score his second-successive hundred of the season and Perera, his first.
Colombo Colts recorded their first win of the season to mount their challenge for the title. They dispersed Lankan CC inside two days to win by six wickets. With the home club Colts' emphasis being to prepare green tops with bounce and pace to help produce more fast bowlers in the country, the match turned out to be a low-scoring affair where the ball dominated and only two batsmen managed to reach fifty.
"There was nothing wrong with the wicket, it was good bowling," said Colts captain Malinda Warnapura. "There was some grass on the wicket and it had some good pace and bounce."
Thirteen of the 34 wickets that fell ended up in catches behind the wicket, which tells a tale that the batsmen were at fault for not getting into line with the ball.
Lankan CC lost the grip on the match after succumbing to 78 after being invited to bat first. Colts in their turn also struggled for runs at 134 for 9, before a last wicket partnership gave them a final total of 207. Lankan CC's batting showed some improvement in the second innings to score 196, but Colts were left only 68 to chase.
Dilruwan Perera scored an unbeaten 62 for Colts in the first innings helping in their recovery and Lankan CC captain Chanaka Wijesinghe made a fighting 78 in the second innings but could not save his side from defeat.
Tall fast bowler Kanishka Alvitigala who got a call up to South Africa in the recently concluded tour and Chaturanga Kumara from Colts and, Saliya Saman and Vimukthi Perera from Lankan CC made full use of the pitch to get amongst the wickets.
Badureliya SC edged through to a narrow three run first-innings points win over Moors SC in the maiden first-class match played at the Surrey Village Ground in Maggona situated in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The ground, owned by Sri Lanka Cricket, was opened in May last year by Surrey CCC CEO Paul Sheldon and is one of the projects in providing assistance to the 2004 tsunami affected areas by the Oval Relief Trust. No centuries were scored, the highest being 95 by Hans Fernando of Badureliya SC. Former Sri Lanka and Moors SC left-arm spinner Dinuka Hettiarachchi picked up the first five-for in an innings.
Premier League Tier B
The fourth weekend of matches saw the top three positions of the Premier League Tier 'B' being dominated by the forces. Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Army maintained their positions as one-two at the top of the table gaining first innings points in their drawn matches against Panadura SC and Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The biggest improvement was shown by Air Force who jumped three places to occupy third spot after grabbing 12 plus points from their drawn game against Burgher RC.