Sri Lankan domestic cricket February 17, 2005

Mubarak rescues Western Province

Cricinfo staff

North Central Province 68 for 0 (Gunawardene 37*, Kalavitigoda 19*) trail Western Province 228 (Mubarak 82, Ramyakumara 3-24) by 160 runs

Jehan Mubarak's dogged 82 rescued Western Province from a dismal start to their match against North Central at the SSC in Colombo, after a thrilling burst from Gayan Wijekoon had reduced Western to 14 for 3 after five overs. Wijekoon, a left-arm seamer, removed the talented trio of Ian Daniel, Upul Thuranga and Russel Arnold all for ducks, and when Michael Vandort fell to Chanaka Welegedara for 34, they really were on the ropes at 53 for 4.

But Hashan Tillekaratne and Mubarak sowed the seeds of recovery, before the wicketkeeper Rashan Peiris chipped in with a valuable 19 in a sixth-wicket stand of 61. From 216 for 7, Farveez Maharoof then lopped off the tail with three quick wickets to bowl Western Province out for 228, although North Central were in the ascendancy by the close, as Avishka Gunawardene and Shantha Kalavitigoda added 68 unbeaten runs for the first wicket.

Southern Province 293 for 9 (Suraj 71*, Malinga 8*) v Central Province

Suraj Mohamed demonstrated a never-before-seen batting prowess to flip Southern Province's fortunes on their head against Central Province at Kandy. Suraj, whose previous highest first-class score was 19, finished the day unbeaten on 71, after hauling Southern from a wobbly 154 for 7 to a promising 293 for 9 at the close.

The day started badly for Southern, as Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya fell cheaply, closely followed by their international colleague, Saman Jayantha (29 for 3). Anushka Polonowita and Indika de Sarem rebuilt the innings with a composed stand of 99, but Polonowita's dismissal triggered a collapse of four wickets for 26 runs. Suraj was on hand, however, to stem the demise.