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Senesh and Charuka rescue Thomians

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143rd Battle of the Blues:
Charuka Peiris (right) is congratulated by Senesh Hettiarachchi after completing his half-century. (Pic by Hirantha Gunathilaka)

Senesh Hettiarachchi and Charuka Pieris made half-centuries to salvage S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, on the opening day of the 143rd Battle of the Blues against Royal College, Colombo, played at SSC grounds yesterday. The match, however, was not played in front of a large crowd as only the parents of the players were able to spectate the game.

Thomians were put in to bat first and were struggling for 84 for 5 wickets at one stage, but the right and left-hand combination Charuka Pieris and Senesh Hettiarachchi played a responsible innings while adding 94 runs in a solid sixth wicket partnership to build a long innings. Thomains were 207 for six wickets at stumps with Charuka Pieris (51) and Mahith Perera (11) remaining at the wicket.

With some sensible batting from the Thomian openers, Senadhi Bulankulama and Janidu Abeygunawardhana made a solid start by adding 53 runs during the first session of day one without losing a wicket.

After lunch, Royal bowlers fought back strongly to damage the Thomians’ innings. Spinner Ramiru Perera took an excellent return low catch to dismiss Abeygunawardhana for 28 runs that came off 93 balls, which included two fours. In the very next over bowled by Dasis Manchanayake, right-hander Bulankulama was out LBW after scoring 18 in 85 balls with a boundary.

Thomain skipper Ryan Fernando the most successful batter of the team came to the middle and started off with a boundary and added a 23-run third-wicket stand with left-hander Dineth Gunawardena. Dineth was unfortunately run out for 12 by a magnificent direct hit from Sadisha Rajapaksa. Skipper Fernando who was playing a steady innings was finally dismissed for (18 runs, one four) when he was caught by Dasis Manchanayake off the bowling of skipper Dishan Balasooriya.

The left-hander Senesh Hettiarachchi and right-hander Charuka Pieris added a 94-run stand to build up the innings from 84/5 to 178 for 6. Senesh made a fine knock of 55 in 118 balls with 7 fours before he was dismissed on a return catch taken by Ramiru Perera who picked up his second wicket. Charuka remained on 51 facing 143 balls and struck 5 fours.

Royal Skipper Gishan Balasooriya had 2 for 52 in his 29-over spell while Ramiru Perera finished with 2 for 36 in a 9-over spell sharing bowling honors on the first day.

Sandesh Ramanayake, the youngest son of former Sri Lanka Fast Bowling Coach Champaka Ramanayake making his debut, opened the bowling for Royal with Dan Poddiwela bowling five overs and giving away only four runs with two maiden overs. He completed a rare ‘Brothers’ Hat-trick’ as his older brothers Hashen and Himesh also played for Royal College a few years back in this Big Match series.

The game will be continued today.

Chief scores

S. Thomas’ 207/6 (Senadhi Bulankulama 18, Janidu Abeygunawardhana 28, Dinesh Gunawardena 12, Ryan Fernando 18, Senesh Hettiarachchi 55, Charuka Pieris 51 n.o, Gishan Balasooriya 2/52, Ramiru Perera 2/36, Dasis Manchanayake 1/22) vs. Royal.

Friday, July 22, 2022 – 01:00

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