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March 1, 2009
Captain Jehan Mubarak produced an exceptional bowling performance as Wayamba beat Ruhuna by 140 runs in Dambulla. The Ruhuna batsmen were no match for Mubarak's offbreaks as he snapped up the last five wickets for 28, with Ruhuna collapsing from 128 for 5 to 156 all out while chasing 297. It was Mubarak's first five-for in his first-class career, as he finished with 6 for 11. Ruhuna began the fourth and final day on118 for 4, with an exciting run-chase on the cards, but Mubarak had other ideas, leading his team to their first win in the competition. Batting first after winning the toss, Wayamba scored 297 with Mahela Udawatte top-scoring with 85 off 184 balls. Ruhuna failed to capitalise on an opening stand of 72 between Upul Tharanga and Ishan Mutaliph, and were bowled out for 215. Chanaka Welagedera and Rangana Herath were the most successful bowlers for Wayamaba, sharing nine wickets between them. Wayamba built on the handy first-innings lead to post 236 in their second innings, lifted by Damitha Hunukumbura's patient century. Tharanga Lakshitha shone with the ball to pick up a career-best 7 for 59 to leave Ruhuna with a gettable target to chase in the fourth innings. Wayamba's victory brought them within nine points of table leaders Basnahira North with a game in hand.
Basnahira North held on to the top spot for a third successive weekend despite being outplayed by Basnahira South in the drawn match at the R Premadasa Stadium. Basnahira North were dismissed for 296 in reply to Basnahira South's first-innings total of 405. Basnahira South openers Yohan de Silva (98) and Lahiru Thirimanne (145) laid the foundation for the big total with a partnership of 207. Thirimanne, who struck his maiden first-class century, hit 16 fours and a six during his 340-ball innings. Dammika Prasad, who failed to make an impression earlier, came back strongly to wrap up the Basnahira South innings, taking the last four wickets in 23 balls. But despite his effort, Basnahira North fell short by 109 runs in reply. The batsmen failed to make much headway against Ruchira Perera and Malinga Bandara who combined to take seven wickets between them. Basnahira North though, fought back strongly to reduce Basnahira South to 124 for 6 in the second innings - an overall lead of 233 by the end of the penultimate day. They were prevented from wrapping up the innings quickly on the final day by Hasantha Fernando (76) and Nuwan Zoysa (52) who added a valuable 104 for the seventh wicket, leaving Basnahira North with a stiff 338 to chase in the fourth innings. Any hope of chasing the target evaporated in the first over when Ruchira Perera snapped up two wickets, forcing them to settle for a draw at 199 for 7.
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