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February 22, 2009
Basnahira North continued strongly in the Inter-Provincial League tournament by recording their second successive win in as many matches, beating Ruhuna by 251 runs at the SSC. Basnahira North looked to be in trouble at 87 for 4 in their second innings - with an overall lead of only 169. But they were rescued by an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 205 between wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva and allrounder Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, both of whom hit centuries. Pushpakumara went on to grab four wickets with his offbreaks in the Ruhuna second innings, three of the victims being top-order batsmen. The blows took the wind out of Ruhuna's sails as they folded for 179 after being set a target of 431. Sri Lanka's former Under-19 World Cup captain Ashan Priyanjan narrowly missed out on a maiden first-class hundred, getting out on 99 in Ruhuna's first innings.
Kandurata bounced back from the defeat against Basnahira North in the opening weekend, by recording a ten-wicket win inside three days against Basnahira South in Dambulla. A well-paced century from Nadeera Nawala, supported by half-centuries from Sajith Fernando and captain Kaushal Weeraratne, helped Kandurata reach 370 after choosing to bat first. Fernando, a prolific run-getter in domestic competitions passed 10,000 runs in first-class cricket during his 72. With Dilruwan Perera unable to bat in both innings after breaking a finger while fielding, Basnahira South collapsed dramatically for 123 in their first-innings. Asked to follow on they showed more fight, reaching 226 for 4 before losing their last five wickets for 41 to a fine combined bowling effort by Kandurata. The up-and-coming Gihan Rupasinghe, with fifties in each innings, provided the only joy for Basnahira South, helping them avert an innings defeat. Kandurata polished off the 21 runs needed for victory inside four overs.
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