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March 18, 2008
Sinhalese and Nondescripts were lucky to escape possible defeats when bad weather washed out the final days' play in their Premier League Tournament Tier A matches against Moors and Bloomfield .
In a low scoring game in Colombo, Nondescripts were dismissed for 151 and 177 which left Bloomfield with the task of chasing 148 for victory. They finished day three at 80 for 4 and required a further 68 runs on the final day, but heavy overnight rain rendered the ground unfit for play.
At Moors Sports Club Ground, leaders Sinhalese were fighting with their backs to the wall against Moors. Dismissed for 193 in the first innings, they were at 131 for 6 - 105 runs ahead - in their second innings at close on the third day. Dilhara Lokuhettige took six wickets, besides scoring 78 off 66 balls to help Moors recover from a precarious 89 for 5 to 219.
Moors' bad luck with the weather enabled Colombo Cricket Club displace them from the second spot after they beat Badureliya by six wickets. Having bowled out Badureliya for 175, Colombo lost nine wickets for 89 before tailenders Chandra Kumara (61 not out) and Ishan Ratnayake, who made a career-best 45, came together to give their side a 29-run lead on the first innings. Badureliya were dismissed for 185 in their second innings leaving CCC with a easy target of 157. Jehan Mubarak followed his haul of 4 for 28 in Badureliya's second innings with a composed knock of 66 off 84 balls to guide Colombo to victory.
Colts Cricket Club also made headway securing a win in three days over Chilaw Marians, aided by another late-order rescue act. Replying to Chilaw Marians' first-innings score of 181, Colts slumped to 119 for 8. They were rescued by wicketkeeper Rashan Peiris (71 not out) and Kanishka Alwitigala (60), who added a crucial 118 for the ninth wicket as Colts to recovered to 265 and gained a lead of 84. Chilaw Marians collapsed in their second innings as well, and the Colts' openers got the required 74 off 13 overs.
At the P Saravanamuttu Stadium, Ragama bounced back after being shot out for 129 in the first innings to beat Tamil Union by 195 runs. Ragama's batsmen made up for the first-innings failure with 346 for 6 declared in the second, and chasing 339 in the fourth innings proved too much for Tamil Union, who were bowled out for 143. For Ragama, Kaushalya Weeraratne and Dharshana Gamage bagged 15 wickets between them. Weeraratne, who was called up to Sri Lanka's ODI squad for the West Indies, took a five-for in the first innings, while Gamage picked up four wickets in each innings.
In Tier B, Sri Lanka Army's dream run of seven consecutive victories was halted by bad weather when their game against second-placed Panadura Sports Club ended in a draw with both sides completing only one innings. Only 8.4 overs were possible on the third and final day but it was enough for Army to secure a vital first-innings lead and gain valuable points to extend their lead at the top of Tier B to 23 points. Spinner Ajantha Mendis, picked for his maiden tour with the Sri Lanka team for the one-dayers against West Indies, scalped 7 for 61 in Pandura's first innings. Rain disruptions meant all five Tier B matches ended in draws.
Player of the Week - Dharshana Gamage
When Dharshana Gamage broke into the Sri Lanka side as a surprise replacement for Chaminda Vaas during the 2003 Bank Alfalah Cup in Sharjah, the tall right-arm bowler with a high action was tipped to unsettle top-order batsmen. However his international stint was short. After appearing in three ODIs, he was forced out of cricket when he developed a serious knee injury. Having made his first-class debut with Sinhalese and later playing for Bloomfield, Gamage has since recovered from his injury and has represented Ragama for the past three years. It was his magnificent bowling in Tamil Union's second innings that brought Ragama an unlikely win after they had been shot out for 129 in the first innings. Gamage's match-haul of 8 for 59 was his best for the season.
However, with an abundance of fast bowlers, the 29-year-old Gamage will find it extremely difficult to get a recall. His fielding skills might also weigh against him.
|Sri Lanka Army||8||7||0||0||1||0||122.285|
|SL Air SC||8||1||2||0||5||0||64.125|
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