Day one of the 82nd Battle of the Saints belonged to St. Peter’s College as St. Joseph’s College were left staring down the barrel of defeat–if not a possible innings defeat.
In reply to the Peterites 304 for 9 in their 60 overs, the Josephians were skittled out for a paltry 106 with Taneesha Weerakoon picking up 6 for 33. Forced to follow-on the Darley Road lads were 28 for no loss in 7 overs at the end of day one, with Revan Kelly not out on 20.
In the St. Joseph’s first innings Kelly (11), Sandaruwan Rodrigo (8) and Jehan Daniel (11) all got out trying to play ill-advised pull shots giving Ravindu Silva two wickets and Manelkar De Silva the other.
The rest of the Josephian followed suit as the Peterites most successful bowler this season, Weerakoon, ran through the batting line-up.
Weerakoon was on the mark with his line, length and variation as all but one of his six scalps got out for either lbw, bowled or caught behind.
Earlier in the day St. Peter’s College after being put into bat by the Josephian skipper Sandaruwan Rodrigo, made a rollicking start scoring around ten runs per over in the first 5 overs. Peterite opening batsmen Imesh Fernando and Anisha Perera climbed all over Ruchira Ekanayake as he went for 36 runs in 3 overs.
Sri Lanka U19 player Daniel put a halt to the partnership at 36 in the 4th over as he bowled Anisha for 8.
However Wanasekara, who had scored over thousand runs this season, kept up the scoring rate though there was fortunate early on as three thick edges somehow managed to go past the slip region for boundaries.
Rodrigo brought himself on to replace Ekanayake and was successful as he picked up Imesh, for a run-a-ball 29 inclusive of three fours and a six, brilliantly caught at first slip by Kelly as the Peterites scored 59 in 8.3 overs.
Wanasekara was joined by the Peterites’ most successful batsman this season Lakshina Rodrigo, who had also scored thousand runs this season. Though Lakshina is known for his attacking batting, he reverted to an anchor role as Wanasekara continued his merry way and looked compact after his early sluggishness.
The two put on a 65-run partnership as Wanasekara brought up his sixth half century. Wanasekara was dropped on 53 but was not able to capitalize as Daniel once again broke the threatening partnership when Malshan Rodrigo took a wonderful reflex catch at gully to dismiss him for 59 which had 9 boundaries.
Harin Cooray then trapped Lakshina lbw, who made a sedate 43 ball 18 as the scores read 131/4 in 25 overs.
The Josephians missed a trick not bringing on their most successful bowler Malshan Rodrigo as the new pair of Ranmith Jayasena and Manelkar De Silva progressed to 170/4 in 33 overs at lunch, with Manelkar hammering two monster sixes and Daniel dropping Manelkar at first slip, off the bowling of Cooray.
Manelkar and Ranmith romped along after lunch with both scoring half centuries and put on a 108 run partnership for the 5th wicket before Manelkar was was given lbw on 71 when the score was on 239. His inning consisted of seven fours and three massive sixes.
Ranmith got out for 56 giving Daniel his third wicket while the batsman arriving perished in search of quick runs but not before adding quick cameos.
In a miserable bowling performance, all the Josephian bowlers went for 4 runs per over while their most successful bowler, Malshan Rodrigo who had taken 75 wickets was only used for 3 overs.
St.Peter’s College (1st inn) – 304/9 (60 overs) – (Manelkar De Silva 71, Hashan Wanasekara 59, Ranmmith Jayasena 56, Jehan Daniel 3/79)
St.Joseph’s College (1st inn) – 106/10 (32.3 overs) – (Nipun Samarasinghe 25, Taneesha Weerakoon 6/33, Ravindu Silva 2/28) (2nd inn – following-on) - 28/0 (7 overs) – (Revan Kelly 20*)