S. Thomas’ College opener Rashmika Opatha scored a century, while Yohan Mendis and skipper Sachitha Jayatileke supported with half-tons, as Royal College were left chasing the ball — and the game — for much of the first day of the 137th Battle of the Blues big match played at the SSC ground.
The opening pair gave the Thomians a flying start after Royal skipper Geeshath Panditharatne won the toss and chose to field, which played into the hands of the Thomian boys.
An opening-wicket partnership of 197 between Rashmika and Yohan laid the foundation for S. Thomas’, as skipper Sachitha put in the finishing touches to help the side post a formidable score of 350 for 5 declared in just 75 overs. The stand was a new Thomian record for the first-wicket, which eclipsed a record that stood for 80 years — that of 136 runs which was set by N. Scheffer and W. Jayatileke way back in 1936.
The pair had things their own way and the Royalists were left with few options in trying to make a breakthrough. Rashmika in particular was severe as he raced to his half-ton in just 55 balls which included ten boundaries and a six.
Later, the Thomians went into the lunch break after a flawless effort, with the score on 146 for no loss from 30 overs.
The post lunch session saw the pair continuing from where they left and in the process Rashmika reached his ton in just 94 balls which comprised 15 boundaries and three sixes in all.
Rashmika continued to torment the Royal bowlers as he accumulated his runs with ease before Royals right arm pacie Himesh Ramanayake made the breakthrough when he dismissed Rashmika, who made a quick-fire 131-ball knock of 124 that included 16 boundaries and four sixes having put on the record stand.
The Thomians underwent a setback when they lost two quick wickets as Mendis did not last long after, dismissed two runs later, making a valuable 64 runs with seven boundaries. Dilendra Gunatileke followed with the Thomians score on 219 for 3.
Ravindu Kodituwakku joined by Yohan Perera put on a recovery act with the pair further frustrating the Royal bowlers as they went into the tea break with the score on 247 for 3 in 60 overs. The pair were separated having added 22 runs in the post-tea session after adding 50 runs for the fourth wicket. Skipper Jayatileke, the next man in was dropped by Malith Kariyawasam off Ganith Sandeepa’s before he could open his account.
That proved to be crucial as Sachitha having added a brief 27-run stand for the fifth-wicket with Yohan Perera tore the Royal attack to all parts of the field to make a breezy 31-ball knock of 50 which included two boundaries and five towering sixes and was associated in a quick fire unbroken partnership of 54 runs for the sixth-wicket with Ravindu Tilekeratne before skipper decided to declare the Thomians innings on 350 for 5.
Royal were able to face only one over as a slight shower and bad light put a stoppage to proceedings.
S. Thomas’ 1st innings
Yohan Mendis st Dhanapala b Embuldeniya 64
Rashmika Opatha c Panditharatne b Ramanayake 124
Dilendra Gunatileke b Hettiarachchi 06
Ravindu Kodituwakku c and b Sandeepa 35
Yohan Perera run out 38
Sachitha Jayatilekee not out 50
Ravindu Tilekeratne not out 11
Extras (b10, lb7, nb3, w3 22
Total (5 wickets declared: 75 overs) 350
Fall of wickets – 1-197 (Opatha), 2-199 (Mendis), 3-219 (Gunatileke), 4-269 (Kodituwakku), 5-296 (Perera).
Bowling – Ronuka Jayawardena 2-0-10-0, Himesh Ramanayake 21-4-98-1, Helitha Vithanage 8-0-41-0, Duvindu Hettiatarachchi 16-4-55-1, Lasith Embuldeniya 12-3-42-1, Malith Kariyawasam 2-0-19-0, Geeshath Panditharatne 1-0-10-0, Ganith Sandeepa 13-0-58-1.
Royal 1st innings
Naveen Vidanapathirana not out 01
Ronuka Jayawardena not out 00
Total (0 wicket: 1 over) 01
Bowling – Sachitha Jayatileke 1-0-1-0.