Colts CC move to the top
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka's upcoming allrounder, scored a career-best 168 off 259 balls to help Colts Cricket Club crush Colombo Cricket Club by an innings at Maitland Crescent and move to the top of the Premier League Tournament Tier A table.
Mathews eclipsed the season's previous highest score - 165 by Ragama's Ian Daniel against Tamil Union Cricket. Colts' total of 379 did not appear to be challenging enough for hosts Colombo, whose batting line-up included three current internationals: captain Jehan Mubarak, Michael Vandort and Chamara Kapugedera. Nuwan Kulasekara, though, left them in disarray, forcing them to follow-on. Colombo managed 133 and 215 in their two innings; Kulasekara took 6 for 31 in the first. He then scalped three top-order wickets in the second innings, and left-arm spinner Sajeewa Weerakoon's five-wicket haul ensured the game ended before tea on the third day.
At Panagoda, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, recalled to the national Test side, inspired Moors Sports Club to their first win of the season, over Sri Lanka Army Sports Club. Moors were shot out for 161, but Herath's 6 for 28 restricted Army to 154 and he scored a half-century in the second innings to set Army a target of 273. Herath then took three wickets as Army were dismissed for 199.
Ragama Cricket Club, who lost the top spot to Colts, stayed in contention by grabbing first-innings points against Chilaw Marians Cricket Club at Braybrooke Place. Replying to Chilaw Marians' 215, Ragama reached an impressive 372, with opener Harsha Vithana scoring 113. It was better performance from the visitors in their second innings, with Mahela Udawatte, dropped from the ODI squad touring Bangladesh, hitting a power-packed 109 in their 281 for 7.
In the clash between Maitland Place rivals Sinhalese Sports Club, the defending champions, and Nondescripts Cricket Club, Sinhalese secured the first innings points. Nondescripts' were shot out for 194 by the offbreaks of Sachitra Senanayake, who took six wickets. Sinhalese finished the game at 308 for 7 in reply, with Sri Lanka Mahela Jayawardene, who had a torrid time in Zimbabwe, back in the runs with a pleasing 60.
Badureliya Sports Club's downward slide since their stunning first-round win over Nondescripts continued. They conceded first-innings points to Tamil Union at the Premadasa, scoring 203 and 233 for 7 in reply to Tamil Union's 349 and 164 for 5 declared.
In Tier B, Saracens Sports Club, Panadura Sports Club, Burgher Recreation Club and Singha Sports Club posted victories with the clear weather allowing for some closely-contested games. Saracens snatched first place in Tier B from Seeduwa Raddoluwa Cricket Club when they won the top-of-the-table clash by two wickets at Royal College Ground. In a match where fortunes swayed from one side to the other, Saracens managed to hold their nerve. Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara took eight wickets for Saracens and lower-order batsmen Chamara Soysa and Shashrika Pussegolla contributed valuable half-centuries to enable Saracens recover from a hopeless 81 for 6 to 197, a crucial lead of 68 on the first innings.
After three defeats and a draw in their first four matches of the season, Singha SC finally broke the shackles by beating Moratuwa Sports Club by nine wickets. The win, achieved inside two days, was fashioned by Singha right-arm medium-pacer Neville Liyanage, who finished with a match haul of nine wickets.
Panadura SC coasted to their third win of the season with an exciting 17-run win over Police Sports Club at Panadura. After being shot out for a paltry 101 in their first innings, Panadura recovered to turn the tables on Police, who had gained who a first-innings lead of 66.
Twenty-year-old Marlan Madusanka picked up his maiden ten-for when he bowled Burgher Recreation Club to a six-wicket win over Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club at De Soysa Stadium, Moratuwa. Madusanka returned figures of 4 for 28 and 6 for 46 as Sebastianites failed to top 150 in both innings.
The Lankan Cricket Club batsmen managed to weather stormy spells from Suwanji Madanayake and Yasith de Silva on the last day as they held on for a draw against Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club at Riffle Green. None of the batsmen could repeat the performances of the first innings as they were reduced to 99 for 7, chasing 114. The match could have swung either way, but Shashan Silva (44 not out) ensured Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club finished the happier, bagging valuable points by virtue of the lead they managed in the previous essay.
Player of the Week - Angelo Mathews
From when he first represented his country, aged 16, in the Sri Lanka Under-19 side against Pakistan in 2003, Angelo Mathews was destined to become an outstanding allrounder. Mathews, who can bat anywhere in the top order and bowl deliveries at a lively medium-pace, impressed at U-19 level and captained the national side in 2005. His first step towards selection in the senior team came during Sri Lanka A's tour to South Africa, when he won praise from coach Chandika Hathurusingha. "What is so unique about him is that he is intelligent, picks things up very quickly, and he is quite matured for his age," Hathurusingha said. "He seeks information and absorbs it very quickly. He should go a long way."
Mathews made it to the Sri Lanka squad for the recent tour of Zimbabwe, where he made his ODI debut. "He's got something special," Jayawardene said. "It would help him immensely to be part of the squad and travel with it so that the transition to the senior team would be smooth." Mathews has been retained in the Sri Lanka one-day squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh in January.