Former and present Sri Lankan cricketers gather to play at Matale

The residents of Matale could get a glimpse of former and present Sri Lankan cricketers when the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association played a friendly match at Bernard Aluvihare Stadium yesterday

Rex Clementine Fernando
Bernard Aluvihare Stadium
The residents of Matale could get a glimpse of former and present Sri Lankan cricketers when the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association played a friendly match at Bernard Aluvihare Stadium yesterday. The stadium - situated in the Matale town, about 20 kilometers away from Kandy - was filled by 4,000 people, who flocked to see their heroes, who have conquered the world of cricket.
The cricketers obliged willingly to the autograph hunters. For those who had come to witness them, the result of the match was secondary. The real winner of the day was the Matale District Cricket Association who had organised the event with the intention of promoting the game in the area and encouraging their budding youngsters.
Fifteen past and present Sri Lankan cricketers gathered to play the friendly game. Don Anurasiri, Kumar Dharmasena, Ruchira Perera, Kumar Sangakkara and Kaushalya Weerarathne had to sit out of this game, but were seen going around the ground obliging the autograph hunters and posing for photographs.
The match played between SL Cricketers' Association and the Matale District Cricket Association, the only serious cricket team from the district, started around 10 o'clock in the morning.
Stars attract large crowds in Matale
Roshan Mahanama, captained the Cricketers' Association while P.K. Aluvihare, captained the Matale Side. Aluvihare has been a consistent performer with the ball for the Matale side in the domestic tournament getting more than 75 wickets. Mahanama, winning the toss, elected to bat first and the residents of the area were presented with an entertaining display of batsmanship.
The man who rose to the occasion was Michael Vandort, the promising tall youngster. Vandort, opening the innings, smashed 60 off just 46 deliveries with 11 boundaries and a six. He put up 90 runs for the first wicket with Lanka de Silva before he retired.
After Vandort retired, there was a mini collapse for the visitors as Lanka de Silva, Indika de Saram and Roshan Mahanama got out within the space of few runs. But Ruwan Kalpage, batting at number six, made a fine 40 with the help of four boundaries and a six. If Kalpage's 40 helped the visitors to go past 200 run mark, Eric Upashantha's 38 with six fours and a six helped them to score an imposing 246 in 40 overs.
In the bowling department, I. Abeyrathne picked up three wickets for 39 runs while M.B. Tillakaratne picked up three for 63 runs. J.C. Welagedara too bowled impressively getting two wickets for 36 runs.
The home side started the run chase impressively with D.L. Wijewardene leading the way in top of the order. Wijewardene made 51 in 41 balls with 11 boundaries. But after his dismissal, the innings fell apart and none of the middle order batsmen managed to impress. However, the tail-enders provided some entertainment later in the innings. But they ended 54 runs short, as they were bowled out for 192 in the 39th over.
Champaka Ramanayake, though retired from competitive cricket, was the most impressive. He picked up three wickets for 18 runs. Dinuk Hettiarchi and Ruwan Kalpage picked up two wickets a piece.
The scores:

SL Cricketers' Association XI. 246/9 (40)

M. Vandort 60, L. de Silva 22, C. Silva 25, R. Kalpage 40, E. Upashantha 38. I.Abeyratne 3/39, M.B Tillakaratne 3/63, J.C Welagedara 2/36.

Matale District Cricketers' Association XI. 192 all out (39.2)

D.L Wijerwardene 51, M.B. Tillakaratne 21, N. Bokalawela 35. C. Ramanayake 3/18, D. Hettiarchi 2/17, 2/15.