Colombo – Royal College were closing in on a famous victory after they had reduced the traditional rivals S. Thomas’ College to 84 for six in their second innings at lunch on the third and final day of the 144th Battle of the Blues Inter-School Big Match at the SSC Grounds in Maitland Place on Saturday.
The Thomians are chasing an improbable victory target of 342 runs after Royal had declared their second innings at the overnight score of 168 for four.
Middle-order batsman Ramiru Perera remained unbeaten on 46 and just four runs away from another milestone of completing a hundred and a half century in the same Big Match.
Skipper Dasis Manchanayake had earlier achieved this feat on the second day of the match while becoming the first Royal Captain to score a century and a half century in the same Big Match.
The Thomians, in their run chase, suffered an early setback while losing opener Thishen Ehaliyagoda in the second ball of the innings and from there onwards it was a real hard struggle for the lads from Mount Lavinia.
Royal never allowed their opponents to settle down and picked up wickets at regular intervals with the fielders backing up well to further frustrate the batsmen.
Skipper Romesh Mendis was trapped in front by paceman Bulan Weerathunga and Sandesh Ramanayake removed the stubborn Dinesh Goonewardene to make it 43 for three after 15 overs.
Senadhi Bulankulama and Nathan Caldera made a determined effort to stay at the crease but both fell victim to the off-spinner Nethwin Dharmaratne, who had excellent figures of two for 15 from four overs.
S. Thomas’ lost probably their last hope of saving the game when Mahith Perera was trapped by Manchanayake in the 25th over.
Wicket-keeper batsman Senesh Hettiarachchi was batting on four while his partner Charuka Peiris was unbeaten on five at the lunch break with S. Thomas’ needing 258 to win and Royal four wickets away from regaining the Rt. Honourable D. S. Senanayake Memorial Shield.
Royal 1st innings 326 for 8 decl
S. Thomas’ 1st innings 153 all out
Royal 2nd innings 168 for 4 decl
S. Thomas’ 2nd innings
Thishen Ehaliyagoda lbw b Malaviarachchi 00
Dineth Goonewardene c Weerasekara b Ramanayake 15
Romesh Mendis lbw b Weerathunga 12
Nathan Caldera b Dharmarathna 18
Mahith Perera lbw b Manchanayake 07
Senesh Hettiarachchi not out 04
Charuka Peiris not out 05
Extras: (nb2, lb5, b4) 11
Total: (6 wkts, 29 overs) 84
Fall: 1-1, 2-18, 3-43, 4-63, 5-74, 6-76
Bowling: Ranuka Malaviarachchi 6-1-16-1, Bulan Weerathunga 6-1-18-1, Sandesh Ramanayake 5-1-11-1, Sineth Jayawardena 3-0-4-0, Dasis Manchanayake 4-0-9-1, Nethwin Dharmarathna 4-0-15-2, Ramiru Perera 1-0-2-0
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