If the first day belonged to the Thomian trio of Rashmika Opatha, Yohan Mendis and skipper Sachitha Jayatileke, the second day saw Royal College duo Pasindu Sooriyabandara and Malith Kariyawasam grab the honours as they rescued the Royalists and took the side to safety against traditional rivals S. Thomas’ at the SSC ground on Friday.
Sooriyabandara and Kariyawasam came to the rescue of Royal when they were in a spot of bother at the end of the morning session of proceedings and struggling on 96 for 4 and the pair put on a match saving partnership of 139 runs for the sixth-wicket to end the day with their heads held high on 280 form 7.
Royal in reply to the Thomians score of 350 for 5 declared resuming on their overnight score of one for no loss saw the openers Naveen Vidanapathirana and Ronuka Jayawardena giving them a sedate start adding 37 runs before being separated.
This was followed by a brief 28-run stand for the second wicket between Ronuka and Pasindu and then Pasindu and skipper Geeshath Panditharatne adding 31 runs for the third wicket.
Right arm pacie Yohan Perera took the first Royal wicket and later dealt a double blow when he bagged the wickets of skipper Pasindu and Lasith Embuldeniya, as the Royalists went into the lunch break struggling on 96 for 4.
The post lunch session saw Sooriyabandara and Kariyawasam frustrating the Thomian bowlers and adding 77 runs as the Thomians were successful in taking only one wicket with Royal going into tea on 189 for 5 with Pasindu on 50 and Malith on 46.
The post tea proceedings saw Kariyawasam reaching his half ton and then the pair posted their 100-run partnership which followed with Royal posting the 200 runs.
They had little trouble from the Thomian bowlers and accumulated their runs with the minimum of fuss. They went on to post Royal’s 250th run and it was 11 runs later that the Thomians were able taste success with skipper Sachitha separating the duo with the wicket of Kariyawasam who made a dogged innings of 78 off 139 balls that included 22 boundaries.
With Royal on 261 for 6 they lost a quick wicket two runs that of Ganith Sandeepa. Sooriyabandara joined by Helitha Vithanage saw the side through to the end of the day’s proceedings with the score on 280 for 7 with their hero Sooriyabandara remaining unbeaten on 97 runs which had 13 boundaries.
The outcome of the match is now almost visible as it points out to an inevitable draw, but the Royalists will be looking forward to see Sooriyabandara reach his ton when play begins on the final day tomorrow.
S. Thomas’ 1st innings 350/5 declared (Rashmika Opatha 124, Yohan Mendis 64, Yohan Perera 38, Ravindu Kodituwakku 35, Sachitha Jayatileke 50 n.o.)
Royal 1st innings (1/0 overnight)
Naveen Vidanapathirana c Kodituwakku b Perera 24
Ronuka Jayawardena c de Silva b Peiris 25
Pasindu Sooriyabandara mot out 97
Geeshath Panditharatne c Nallaperuma b Perera 26
Lasith Embuldeniya lbw b Perera 00
Tiran Danapala c Gunatileke b Liyanaarachchi 09
Malith Kariyawasam lbw b Jayatileke 78
Ganith Sandeepa c de Silva b Liyanaarachchi 00
Helitha Vithanage not out 10
Extras (lb1, nb8, w1) 11
Total (7 wickets: 105 overs) 280
Fall of wickets – 1-37 (Vithanapathirana), 2-65 (Jayawardena), 3-96 (Panditharatne), 4-96 (Embuldeniya), 5-122 (Danapala), 6-261 (Kariyawasam), 7-263 (Sandeepa)
Bowling – Sachitha Jayatileke 19-8-21-1, Rashmika Opatha 13-4-42-0, Senal de Silva 10-3-14-0, Hansaka Liyanaarchchi 12-3-42-2, Ravindu Tilekeratne 15-4-38-0, Yohan Perera 14-4-39-3, Dhanush Peiris 15-3-51-1, Ravindu Kodituwakku 7-2-30-0