NCC, SL Army dominant after second round
A comprehensive performance from Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) set up their second big win in two matches and sent them to the top of the Group B table, while Sri Lanka Army topped group A, having won a low-scorer, in the second round of the Premier League Tournament. Ports Authority Cricket Club (PACC) recorded the only innings victory of the round, which yielded two draws and eight outright results. In addition to NCC and Army, Colts Cricket Club, Tamil Union and Sinhalese Sports Club have also won both matches so far.
NCC's victory over Chilaw Marians was set-up by an unbeaten 205 from Upul Tharanga in the first innings, which helped his side to 405 for 6 declared by the third session on day one. Tharanga's innings came off 266 deliveries, and featured a 174-run fourth-wicket partnership with Angelo Perera, who joined Tharanga at the crease at 65 for 3. The Marians' reply began well, with Sachith Pathirana and Angelo Jayasinghe adding 163 for the second wicket, but Tharindu Kaushal's most successful spell in an already brilliant debut domestic season ensured NCC took a 149-run lead into the second innings, with Kaushal finishing with 7 for 69. Dinesh Chandimal and Perera then pushed home NCC's advantage with the bat, with Perera adding a stroke-filled 100 not out from 77 balls to the 87 he made in the first innings, before Kaushal took his third five-wicket haul in four innings, to complete a 289-run victory.
Army succumbed to 174 in the first innings, surrendering eight wickets to Panadura Sports Clubs trio of spinners, but that total turned out to be the highest in the match on a Panadura pitch heavily tilted towards spin bowling. Legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna opened the bowling alongside Ajantha Mendis, and took 6 wickets for 45, skittling Panadura for 121 from 28.1 overs. Army only fielded one fast bowler, but he was unused in the first innings, and only delivered an over in the second. Left-arm orthodox spinner Gayan Sirisoma took 6 for 66 for Panadura to help dismiss army for 135, but the hosts fell 54 runs short of their target of 189 in the final innings, as Mendis collected a five-wicket haul of his own.
Badureliya Sports Club had an opportunity to score a major upset when they dismissed SSC for 102 in the first innings, having made 227 themselves after being sent in, but saw their chance slip away when they could only muster 115 in the second innings, before Dimuth Karunaratne century took the hosts to their target. First-innings fifties to Pabasara Waduge and Mapa Bandara saw Badureliya breach 200 on a green SSC pitch, before right-arm fast-bowling allrounder Saliya Saman took a career-best 8 for 53 in 14 overs, to hand his side a 125-run lead. But a resurgent SSC ensured they would prevail, first by dismissing the visitors cheaply - despite opening with the spin of Sachithra Senanayake - and then making the highest total in the match in the fourth innings. Karunaratne's 109 came in 155 deliveries, as he continued to play himself into form, having also made a 70 and an unbeaten 27 in the last match. Thilan Samaraweera also backed up his hundred from round one, with a second-innings 57 against Badureliya.
Tamil Union were missing Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath for the second round, but still managed an eight-wicket win over Colombo Cricket Club, thanks largely to an unbeaten 206 from Jeevan Mendis in the first innings, that set up a 160-run lead. Mendis' innings at the Colombo Cricket Club ground featured 21 fours and three sixes, and came in 225 deliveries. Allrounders Sachithra Serasinghe and TM Sampath took three wickets each with their offspin in the first innings, before Colombo were asked to follow on. Suranga Lakmal then took 5 wickets for 63, to leave his side with only 128 to win. Gihan Rupasinghe and Hasantha Fernando both made 80s for Colombo.
Elsewhere, Bloomfield Cricket Club's clash with Sri Lanka Air Force ended in a draw, just as the match headed towards a nail-biting finale. Air Force needed 51 more runs to win with four fourth-innings wickets in hand at stumps on the final day, having fought back from a 75-run first-innings deficit. Bloomfield will feel they should have won however, given they had the three best individual performances in the match. Suraj Randiv took 11 for 145 in the match, with seven of those wickets coming in the first innings, after Madawa Warnapura and Nipun Karunanayake made hundreds. But the remaining batsmen only made 74 in the first innings, and could not manage an intimidating second-innings total either. Bloomfield were hamstrung in the field, by an injury to speedster Nuwan Pradeep, who only bowled nine overs in the match.
Ports Authority subjected Kurunegala Youth to their second innings loss in as many matches, after amassing 523 for 8 declared in the first innings. Ports Authority's opening pace bowlers Chaminda Bandara and Sanitha de Mel took three wickets each, as their side dismissed Kurunegala for 171, after sending them in. Opening batsman Manoj Sarathchandra fell two short of a hundred for Kurunegala in the second innings, but although wicketkeeper-batsman Bhatiya Ratnayaka and captain Saman Priyanthaka also made fifties in a much-improved second innings, Kurunegala fell 37 runs short of wiping out their massive deficit.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here