Royal College, Colombo fought back in the final session to undermine the early advantage S.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia gained on day two of their 131st Battle of the Blues three-day cricket encounter continued at the SSC grounds, Colombo yesterday.
Royal, after trailing by 31 runs on the first innings, were 20 for no loss in their second innings at close. Earlier, S.Thomas resuming their first innings at their overnight total of 20 for one, went on to make a healthy 314 all out.
S.Thomas , in reply to Royal s modest first innings total of 283 for 9 declared on day one, were strongly placed at 193 for 2 midway in the post lunch session but the Reid Avenue boys came back into the picture strongly to make the exchanges even at the end of the second day s play.
The day belonged to two Thomian batsmen and two Royal bowlers who dominated in the first and the second halves of the day s play respectively.
The early advantage Royal had was demolished by Thomian middle order batsmen Pasan Wijewardene and Nuwan Kavinda who were associated in a massive 159-run partnership for the third wicket.
S.Thomas , who resumed the day at 20 for 1, suffered an early blow last morning when they lost their captain Dinesh Walpita for 12, caught by Chalaka Bogoda off Royal s prime spinner Maneesha Thanthirigoda. When the Thomians lost the second wicket with only 34 runs on the board, it looked as if Royal were getting ready for an early win with Thanthirigoda, who has captured over 100 wickets this season, in the forefront. But Royal s dreams were short lived as Wijewardene and Kavinda did the recovery job in great fashion.
Initially, they were understandably slow but once they had a good taste at the Royal bowling, they were simply unstoppable.
They punished Royal bowlers to all corners of the picturesque SSC grounds as the Reid Avenue boys tried as many as seven bowlers to break the alliance.
But both of them were unable to go for their centuries which were well within their reach.
But Royal came back into action when Kavinda was caught by Gunaratne off Royal captain Rajapakse for 86, which included two sixers and nine boundaries.
But the Nelsonian ball faced by Kavinda brought misfortune for the Thomian camp.
Six overs later and with the total on 203, Pasan Wijewardene became the most unfortunate of the day to be out in the nervous 99. He misjudged a deadly delivery by Thanthirigoda at attempted to reverse sweep.
But the end result saw the ball ballooning for the safe hands of skipper Rajapakse at slips. It was Wijewardene s patient 193-ball knock that saved S.Thomas and he had 13 boundaries during his innings.
The successive departures of Kavinda and Wijewardene within the space of six overs enabled Royal to return to the game in a big way as the last six Thomian wickets produced a mere 51 runs losing their grip from a commanding 193 for 2 to be all out for 314 in 99.2 overs.
Training by 31 runs on the first innings, Royal were 20 for no loss in their second innings.
Royal still trail by 11 runs with all their ten second innings wickets intact.
1st innings 283 for 9 decl.
(Chalaka Bogoda 47,
Bhanuka Rajapakse 68,
Waruna Dissanayake 45,
Dinesh Walpita 4 for 51,
U. Fernando 2 for 46)
S. THOMAS COLLEGE
Brian Dharmasena c. Deva b. Rajapakse 0
Dinesh Walpita c. Bogoda b. Thanthirigoda 12
Pasan Wijewardene c. Rajapakse b. Thanthirigoda 99
Nuwan Kavinda c. Gunaratne b. Rajapakse 86
Ashen Fernando c. Padmanathan b. Rajapakse 44
S. Peiris b. Imran Khan 23
Chamod Pathirana c. Rajapakse b. Khan 23
Umesh Fernando b. Thanthirigoda 11
Lalindra Peiris lbw b. Thanthirigoda 0
Neomal Wickremesekera lbw b. Rajapakse 0
Niluksha Fernando not out 0
Extras: (b 4, lb 1, w 9, nb 2) 16
TOTAL (all out) 314
Strike rate: 3.16 R/O
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Dharmasena), 2-34 (Walpita), 3-193 (Kavinda, 4-203 (Wijewardene),
5-263 (S Peiris), 6-294 (Pathirana), 7-310 (Ashen Fernando), 8-311 (Lalindra Peiris),
9-312 (Wickramasekera), 10-314 (U Fernando).
Bowling: Rajapakse 28-6-68-4
Kithruwan Vithanage not out 12
Ramith Rambukwella not out 6
Extras: (1B, 1 LB) 2
TOTAL (for no loss) 20
Bowling: Pathirana 2-0-12-0