Captains star in drawn encounter
Royal College 283 for 9 dec (Rajapaksa 68, Walpita 4-51) and 288 for 4 dec (Rambukwella 165, Fernando 3-74) drew with St Thomas' College 314 (Wijewardene 99, Kavinda 86, Rajapaksa 4-68, Thanthirigoda 4-69) and 194 for 7 (Fernando 55, Walpita 51, Rajapaksa 2-27)
Half-centuries from Ashen Fernando and captain Dinesh Walpita, backed by a useful lower-order effort by Chamod Pathirana, helped St Thomas' College fight out a draw against Royal College at the Sinhalese Sports Club in the Inter Schools Annual Big Match. Royal College's performance had been led by example from their captain Bhanuka Rajapakse, who starred in an all-round effort, and so did Walpita for St Thomas' College.
Royal College, led by opener Ramith Rambukwella's blistering 165, which came off 148 balls and included 21 fours and five sixes, cruised to 288 for 4 on the third day and declared to set St Thomas' College a challenging target of 258. St Thomas' College, though, went about trying to save the game, as Walpita batted steadily, striking nine fours in his 128-ball 51. There were, however, moments of trepidation as Royal College nipped out the first three wickets for 53. Walpita, determined to battle through to a draw, added 69 in 22.3 overs with Fernando, who contributed 55.
Still, Royal College never had victory out of sight and fought back through Rajapakse, who dismissed Walpita and wicketkeeper Sachin Peiris of consecutive deliveries to reduce the opposition to 123 for 5. The next two wickets, though not adding too many, did manage to bat 11 overs, and Pathirana, with Neomal Wickramasekera, played out a further 46 balls before play concluded.
It was St Thomas' College who had grabbed the advantage at the end of the first innings, gaining a lead of 31. Walpita, after putting Royal College in, took four wickets to help limit his opponents to 283 for 9. Rajapaksa, too, played a captain's hand, scoring 68 off 60 balls. In reply, Pasan Wijewardene (99) and Nuwan Kavinda (86) were involved in a 159-run partnership to help their team get past 283 and post 314, though Rajapakse and Manisha Thanthirigoda, sharing eight wickets, had fought back.
The tables turned in the second innings, but some determined batting by St Thomas' College on the final day helped them save the game.