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Teams enter biosecure bubble for 142nd Battle of the Blues

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by Reemus Fernando

Royal College and S. Thomas’ College squads for the 142nd Battle of the Blues entered bio secure bubbles yesterday, a week ahead of the Big Match as organizers plan to conduct the historic series behind closed doors due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Royal captained by former Sri Lanka Under 19 player Ahan Wickramsinghe and S. Thomas’ captained by Shalin de Mel underwent tests for the virus before entering the bubble and according to team sources all tests conducted so far have returned negative results.

The annual battle which was twice postponed due to the pandemic this year will now be played from October 28 to 30 at the SSC ground.

The Battle of the Blues, which is generally played during the second weekend of March was scheduled for May due to the Covid 19 pandemic this year. But organizers had to postpone it after four Thomian cricketers were found to be positive for Covid-19 days before the match. Later it was rescheduled for September 9-11 to be played behind closed doors at Sooriyawewa but the outbreak of the pandemic again forced them to postpone the match.

The two teams will be joined by their Sri Lanka Under-19 players who are currently on national duty just two days before the start of the match. Sri Lanka Under 19 team officials said that the players in the current Under-19 team will be released for them to engage in the club tournament a day after the series against Bangladesh concludes. That will allow S. Thomas’ deputy skipper Ryan Fernando  and Yasiru Rodrigo and Royalist Sadisha Rajapaksha to rejoin their school teams for the Big Match.

There are some Royal-Thomian fans who have witnessed the historic Battle of the Blues uninterrupted for more than fifty years. But with the match being played behind closed doors they will now have to choose other options. A member of the organizing committee said that the fans will be able to witness the match via other means as the sponsors have made arrangements to telecast the match live.

Royal College cricket statistician M.L. Fernando has witnessed every encounter of the historic Battle of the Blues series uninterrupted since 1964. But there will be an exception this year as only the players, match officials and the ground staff will be allowed inside the ground.

According to Fernando it is the first time the match will be played in October after the historic first match was played way back in 1880. “According to the statistics I have the first match of the series had been played on October 29 and 30 at Galle Face in 1880. After that this is the first match to be played in October,” Fernando said.



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Mendis and Embuldeniya seal big win for Sri Lanka 

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Ramesh Mendis was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka finishing with 11 wickets. He claimed 18 wickets in two Tests and was named Player of the Series. 

Rex Clementine in Galle 

In Test cricket, no Sri Lankan bowler has had such an early impact as those with the surname of Mendis, not even the great Muttiah Muralitharan or his partner in crime Chaminda Vaas. First it was Ajantha Mendis and now it is Ramesh Mendis. These are very early days for this Dharmashoka lad but he could go onto become a prominent Test cricketer as he showcased with a match bag of 11 wickets yesterday as Sri Lanka completed a 164 run rout of West Indies in Galle.

Playing just his fourth Test match, Mendis complemented his career best figures of six for 70 in the first innings by claiming five for 66 in the second essay to finish with a match bag of 11 wickets. Ambalangoda is the home for many prominent Sri Lankans like CWW Kannangara, General Sarath Fonseka, Mahinda Deshapriya and Mendis could be the next big name from the coastal town popular for biling achcharu, ambul thiyal, masks and cinnamon.

Former great Michael Tissera hands over the Sobers-Tissera Trophy to Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne following Sri Lanka’s series win over West Indies in Galle yesterday. 

It was a fantastic display of spin bowling. Mendis kept bowling to an impeccable line and length playing the waiting game and then when wickets started falling, they were falling in clusters.

West Indies had done well to reach lunch at 65 for two and looked set to fight out a draw. But after lunch, Mendis broke the 27 run stand between Shape Hope and Nkrumah Bonner that had lasted for 48 minutes and soon found himself taking two more wickets in the same over as Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers were dismissed without troubling scorer Tushara Corray.

He had claimed 16 wickets in the two Tests and was named Player of the Series.

Lasith Embuldeniya, one year younger to Mendis and from Royal College, kept the pressure from the other end to also finish with a five wicket haul. He had started off by dismissing Jermaine Blackwood in the last over before lunch and then polished through the tail. It was his fifth five wicket haul in Test cricket.

West Indies collapse was quite dramatic as they lost eight wickets for 40 runs. None of their batsmen managed a half-century.

Former Ceylon captain Michael Tissera was present to hand the Sobers-Tissera Trophy.  Sri Lanka moved up to number seven in the ICC Rankings for teams in Test cricket while West Indies slipped down to number seven.

Sri Lanka also collected 24 points from the ICC World Test Championship. They had won the first Test by 187 runs.

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Vichinthya, Methwan, Githmi win singles titles  

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106th Colombo Championships Tennis

Vichinthya Nilaweera, Methwan Wijemanne and Githmi Fernando won their respective age group singles titles of the 106th Colombo Championships which continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Friday.

Nilaweera fought back to clinch the Under 16 boys’ singles title as the Stafford International College player scored 0-4, 5-3, 10-8 to win against Venuka Kithnula.

Royal College player Wijemanne beat Danushka Dias (5-3, 4-2) in straight sets to win the Under 14 boys’ singles crown’

In the Under 12 girls’ singles final, Ave Maria Convent, Negombo player Githmi Fernando was the winner against Gehansa Methnadi (4-1, 1-4, 10-8).

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Jaffna Central meet Vidyaloka Galle in the final

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Under 19 Division III Tier ‘A’ Cricket

Two unbeaten teams, Jaffna Central and Vidyaloka College, Galle will battle it out for the title of the Inter School Under 19 Division III Tier ‘A’ tournament at Nalanda College ground, on Saturday.

The two teams were the champions in their respective groups during the first round and they continued in the same vein in the knockout stage to secure their final berths.

Jaffna Central will bank heavily on S. Sarangan, the batsman in form. Sarangan was the key to their success in the knockout stage after having scored decisive knocks, an unbeaten 31 and a half century at the business end of the tournament. J. Vithushan and V. Viyaskanth also made notable contributions during that phase.

R. Newton, V. Viyaskanth, N. Ajay, T. Gowtham and Inthujan stood out in the bowling department during the knockout stage.

For Vidyaloka, Umanga Imanjana, Sonal Ransara and Sasindu Lakshan played key roles with the ball during that phase, while Sonal Ransara, Kavinda Basnayake, Yasith Deshan and Sineth Praveen did well with the bat.

How they reached the final

Jaffna Central beat all Group ‘F’ counterparts namely, Skandavarodaya MV, Chunnakam, Hindu College, Kokuvil, Hindu College, Jaffna and St. Patrick’s College Jaffna in the first round.

During the knockout stage the team captained by B. Inthujan beat Royal College, Polonnaruwa, St. Joseph’s College, Wattala and Rajasinghe Central, Hanwella.

Vidyaloka remained unbeaten in Group ‘J’ in the first round. The team captained by Pasindu Lakshan beat Debarawewa National School and Wanduramba Central College. Vijitha Central, Dickwella and Madampa Central were the other two teams drawn in their group but their withdrawal made things easy for them.

During the knockout stage they beat Badulla Central in the pre-quarter final round. Their quarter-final ended in a no result but they were able to advance to the semi-finals thanks to their superior run rate over Ibbagamuwa Central. In the semis they edged out Methodist High School Moratuwa in the semi final.

 Teams: 

Jaffna Central (from): B. Inthujan (captain), V. Viyaskanth, S. Abiyuth, B. Kavitharshan, G. Janujan, T. Kaveejan, S. Sarangan, U. Tharmikan, J. Vithusan, A. Kajan, R. Newton, T. Gowtham, M. Sansayan, N. Ajay, S. Anusanth, S. Similtan, D. Poulparamathayalan, T. Abilash, S.Sayanthan, S. Mohommed. Officials: S. Tharshan (Master in Charge), F.R. Selton (Coach)

Vidyaloka College (from):

Pasindu Lakshan (Captain), Senith Praveen, Dilshan Kavinda, Dilan Rashinda, Dulara Nimsara, Sonal Ransara, Gihan Asanka, Chamith Shiran, Umesh Kavinda, Chamath Nirmal, Sasindu Lakshan, Hasanka Jayanath, Yasith Deshan, Umanga Imanjana, Dasun Chamod, Rashmika Prabath, Harsha Manohara, Hansaka Randeepa, Prageeth Bimsara. Officials: L.R. Manatunge (Master in Charge), Thusitha Kariyawasam (Coach).

(RF)

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