For the second successive week, a spinner took nine wickets in an innings and 13 wickets in a match. However on this occasion, offspinner Suraj Randiv's effort handed Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club a win by five wickets against Sri Lanka Army Sports Club at Reid Avenue, unlike Sohan Boralessa's effort, which failed to produce a similar result for Colombo Cricket Club against Moors Sports Club in the last round.
Randiv's achievement was more creditable because he backed up the excellent bowling performance with a maiden first-class century that enabled Bloomfield to win after conceding a first-innings lead. The victory kept Bloomfield in contention for top spot, with table-leaders Nondescripts Cricket Club ahead by just four points.
Army caused a wave of panic when they surprisingly took a first-innings lead. With the exception of Randiv's 172-ball century, the Bloomfield batting collapsed dismally to be bowled out for 216 in reply to Army's first-innings total of 251. However, Randiv's magnificent bowling effort saw Army collapse for 231, leaving Bloomfield 267 for victory. Randiv, who ended with figures of 9 for 109 off 35.2 overs was deprived of a perfect 10 in the innings, when one of the batsmen was run out. Even during the chase, Bloomfield had to rely on Randiv's batting talent to see them through, as they lost half the side for 154. Only an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 113 between Chamara Silva and Randiv saw them reach their target in 36 overs.
A dejected Army coach Simon Hewawitharana said: "It was our game and we threw it away, trying to play for a draw. It was our own mistakes that contributed to our defeat and gave Randiv so many wickets. He bowled to a 7-3 leg side field and our batsmen had no difficulty playing him but they were nervous."
Defending champs Colts Cricket Club were jolted by table toppers Nondescripts Cricket Club who defeated them by six wickets at Havelock Park. In a low-scoring game, Colts were bundled out for 170 and 224 by right-arm fast bowler Kosala Kulasekara, who picked up a career-best match haul of 7 for 115. Left-arm spinner Chanaka Komasaru also contributed with a five-for in the second innings. Nondescripts, in turn, did not make much headway, being dismissed for 200 in the first innings. Chasing 195 for victory, they made a horror start with opener Upul Tharanga caught and bowled by Chaminda Vaas for a first-ball duck. Nondescripts stumbled to 15 for 3 and then to 81 for 4, before Farveez Maharoof took them home with a career-best of 115 not out, only his second hundred in a first-class career spanning eight years.
"Maharoof's effort was vital for us at a point when we had lost three early wickets but if you take the whole match in perspective it was due to the contributions of all the team members that enabled us to win," said Nondescripts coach Hemantha Devapriya. "It was a major achievement to have a team like Colts bundled out for 170 in the first innings. Kosala's four early wickets helped us immensely."
Former champions Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) kept up the pressure on the top two by outclassing Moors Sports Club by an innings and 83 runs at Maitland Place. Kaushal Silva and Thilina Kandamby celebrated their selection for the India tour with notable contributions that helped SSC pile up a massive 466 for 7, which forced Moors to follow on. Silva impressed with 75 off 100 balls and Kandamby scored 102 off 153 balls after Sri Lanka Test opener Tharanga Paranavithana and Hans Fernando had laid the platform with a 143-run partnership for the second wicket. The Moors batsmen collapsed twice to the spin of Sachithra Senanayake and Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who shared 14 wickets between them.
A career-best bowling performance by offspinner Asanka Silva saw Badureliya Sports Club record their second win of the season, beating Saracens Sports Club by nine wickets at the Panadura Esplanade. Silva followed his four wickets in the first innings with a brilliant bowling performance in the second, capturing 7 for 73, as Saracens were dismissed for 200 and 187. Ranesh Perera's maiden first-class century gave Badureliya a handy 166-run first-innings lead that left them with 22 runs to get for victory.
Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) continued their wretched form this season, suffering a crushing ten-wicket loss to Chilaw Marians Cricket Club at Maitland Crescent. CCC put up a pathetic batting display to be bowled out for a 167 after choosing to bat. From that point, it was the Marians who had the game under their control. They made use of a good batting track to pile up 403 for 7, and CCC barely managed to avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat when they left Marians with 10 runs to get for the win. Left-hander Milinda Siriwardene's career-best 151 not out and his partnership of 157 for the sixth wicket with Janaka Gunaratne (88) knocked the wind out of the CCC sails.
Former Sri Lanka Under-19 cricketer Lahiru Thirimanne's second first-class hundred of his career ensured Ragama Cricket Club gained vital first-innings points over Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club in a high-scoring drawn match played at Maitland Place.
|Nondescripts Cricket Club||4||3||0||0||1||0||50.235|
|Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club||4||2||0||0||2||0||46.48|
|Sinhalese Sports Club||4||1||0||0||3||0||41.3|
|Ragama Cricket Club||4||0||1||0||3||0||38.595|
|Badureliya Sports Club||4||2||2||0||0||0||37.42|
|Chilaw Marians Cricket Club||4||1||0||0||3||0||33.8|
|Colts Cricket Club||4||1||1||0||2||0||25.805|
|Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club||4||1||1||0||2||0||24.655|
|Moors Sports Club||4||0||1||0||3||0||20.28|
|Saracens Sports Club||4||0||1||0||3||0||19.325|
|Colombo Cricket Club||4||0||1||0||3||0||10.685|
|Sri Lanka Army Sports Club||4||0||3||0||1||0||10.58|
Lankan Cricket Club captained by former Sri Lanka A legspinner Suranjith Silva are certainly looking good to win the Premier Tier B championship when they recorded their third win of the season to open up a 21-point lead over their nearest rivals Panadura Sports Club.
Lankan Cricket Club had a narrow shave in the first innings when Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club came within 12 runs of their total of 268, but more than their batting it was Sebastianites' poor second-innings effort that contributed to their defeat. Left a gettable target of 239, Sebastianites folded tamely for 137. The batsmen displayed their inability to play spin falling to left-armer Gayan Sirisoma (11 for 123 in the match) and offspinner Thamara Abeyratne (7 for 82).
Panadura Sports Club's chances of reducing the gap were thwarted by Burgher Recreation Club who held them to a draw at the Burgher Recreation Club, after Panadura barely managed to scrape through to a narrow three-run lead in the first innings. Neither team benefited greatly by the result and it only allowed Lankan Cricket Club to pull ahead. Sri Lanka Navy Sports Club and Singha Sports Club secured their first wins of the season defeating Moratuwa SC and Air Force Sports Club respectively.
|Lankan Cricket Club||4||3||0||0||1||0||60.88|
|Panadura Sports Club||4||1||0||0||3||0||39.57|
|Burgher Recreation Club||4||1||0||0||3||0||34.025|
|Sri Lanka Navy Sports Club||3||1||0||0||2||0||31.1|
|Seeduwa Raddoluwa Cricket Club||3||0||0||0||3||0||25.56|
|Singha Sports Club||2||1||1||0||0||0||19.775|
|Moratuwa Sports Club||4||0||1||0||3||0||18.995|
|Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club||3||0||2||0||1||0||17.72|
|Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club||4||0||2||0||2||0||12.82|
|Police Sports Club||3||0||1||0||2||0||8.21|
Player of the Week - Suraj Randiv
Like Tillakaratne Dilshan before him, a change of name for Suraj Randiv has brought success to his wavering cricket career, which has seen him hopping clubs in search of an opportunity to represent his country. Bloomfield, the club that Dilshan also represents, is Randiv's fourth in a first-class career spanning five years. He started off at Matara Sports Club and then went to Nondescripts Cricket Club and Sinhalese Sports Club. While Dilshan changed his original name from Tuan Mohamed Dilshan to Tillakaratne Mudiyansilage Dilshan, Randiv changed his original name from Suraj Mohamed to Hewa Kaluhalamullage Suraj Randiv Kaluhalamulla last year. The move has had its effect.
Dilshan, promoted from a middle-order batsman to opener, is currently enjoying great success with the national team in all forms of the game. Likewise, Randiv has emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the Premier League this season with 29 first-class wickets at 18.89. The performances have not gone unnoticed by the Sri Lankan selectors, because he was named as a standby for the Test squad for next month's tour to India.
Bloomfield owe their current No. 2 position on the points table to Randiv, who not only excelled with his bowling but also contributed lavishly with the bat, scoring his maiden first-class century in last week's match against Sri Lanka Army Sports Club. Perhaps the presence of Muttiah Muralitharan has kept him from breaking into the national side, but an injury to Muralitharan before the Galle Test against Pakistan early this year, earned Randiv a call-up.