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Wet weather forces a draw

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142nd Battle of the Blues

The rain hampered 142nd edition of the Battle of the Blues saw only six Royal batsmen came to bat against the arch rivals S. Thomas. According to Battle of the Blues statisticians this is only the second time it has happened.

The match which was twice postponed due to pandemic related issues was finally played behind closed doors at the SSC but after the entire first day’s play was lost due to wet ground and inclement weather conditions a draw was the only possible out come. S. Thomas’ fielded one of the youngest teams in recent times with some players eligible to play in the Big Match in 2024 as well.

The huge gap of experience between the two teams was evident soon after Royal decided to bowl first as the Thomians lost the first eight wickets for 35 runs.

Paceman Sonal Amarasekara rattled the top order with a devastating spell before Gishan Balasuriya mopped up the middle and late order with his four wicket haul.

It was the ninth wicket pair of Yasiru Rodrigo and fresher Mahith Perera who helped them survive till the close of play on the second day adding 38 runs.

The Thomians were a young team but two of their key players, the skipper Shalin de Mel and Sri Lanka Under 19 player Ryan Fernando too failed to score.

Royal in their essay posted 112 for four wickets declared with Isiwara Dissanayake top scoring with 47 runs.

Commencing the second innings the Thomians lost their first wicket for no runs as Romesh Mendis was out for no runs for the second time in the match. But Anuk Palihawadena and de Mel kept their wickets intact before the match was stopped for bad light.

This Big Match had not been interrupted even during the two World Wars and local insurgencies. The organizers managed to keep intact that status by conducting the match behind closed doors. However, lack of covers to protect the ground during rain prevented the first day’s play. There were only four covers to protect the ground when rain started in the morning and two additional covers were used later on day one. There were only 15 ground staff to remove covers on day one. Though rain ceased well before the scheduled start on day one the ground staff could not prepare the ground till around 2.00 pm for umpires to have their first inspection.

However, the SSC had acquired double that number of staff by the second day and some 15 covers were used on day two making it possible for the 142nd edition of the Battle of the Blues to see the light of day.

According to statisticians the last time only six batsmen came to the middle to score for Royal was in 1971. Royal scored 295 for two wickets declared with three batsmen coming to the crease in the first innings. Jagath Fernando scored a century for Royal in that innings. In the second innings Royal used five batsmen and scored 13 for three wickets declared.



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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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