Plenty of sun but too little daring

Charlie Austin

January 7, 2001

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Twelve months ago the Youth World Cup was underway in Sri Lanka and rain plagued the early stages of the tournament. This weekend, the Sri Lankan First Class season began with eight matches. However, despite the sun shining throughout the weekend, few outright wins were recorded.

On Saturday night most of the matches looked poised to produce results. However, a combination of determined defence and too little daring, allowed teams to scrape through to fight another day.

One such team was Colts CC. They looked to be in desperate trouble last night when they were still 252 runs behind Colombo Cricket Club with a full day to bat. But, they didn't collapse meekly like they did in the first innings. Dulip Samaraweera led the rearguard action with a patient 79 from 173 balls. He was partnered along the way by Kalatunga, who scored an entertaining 67 from 69 balls, hitting eleven fours and one six.

Tamil Union too were in trouble when the day began. The Sinhalese Sports Club extended their overnight score of 61 for one to 141 for five and set Tamil Union 310 to win from what turned out to be 63 overs. In the end Tamil Union made a good fist of the run chase scoring 244 for 6.

Sebastianites scored 233 in their second innings after starting the day on 72 for three. This left Moors Sports Club needing 259 to win from 30 overs. Unsurprisingly, Moors SC decided against a full out assault on the target. They finished the day on 91 for four. A little more adventure on the part of Sebastianites, may well have given them a victory.

Panadura SC were similarly guilty of not pushing for victory. They went into the final day with a lead of 239 with three wickets remaining. This morning, the number nine batsmen, GAS Perera (115*), continued his partnership with JSK Peiris (129). The pair added 154 for the eighth wicket.

With hindsight their final score of 330, which left Singha needing 380 from 55 overs, was probably about 100 runs too many. Singha eventually finished on 222 for seven from the 55 overs remaining. A chance for victory had slipped down the drain.

Nondescripts Cricket Club however were able to finish off a match that they had dominated throughout. They defeated the Navy Sports Club by an innings and five runs.

There were innings wins too for Kurunegala and Bloomfield Sports Club. Matara Sports Club and the Air Force had to settle for a draw.

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Charlie Austin Sri Lanka editor When Charlie Austin left for Sri Lanka after graduating from Sussex University, he was a planning a winter's cricket in the tropics and a six-month stint with an environmental NGO. His mother's worst fears were soon realised when it became clear that he had fallen in love with the island. Six months have now become eight years and Colombo has become his home. He joined Cricinfo in February 2000 and now heads operations in Sri Lanka, responsible for both sales and editorial. He is also the director of a UK-based travel company called Red Dot Tours, and is currently ghosting Muttiah Muralitharan's autobiography.
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