By Chris Dhambarage
Chilaw Marians Cricket Club brought an end to CCC’s unbeaten run with a stupendous performance in their SLC Premier League Tournament Tier ‘A’ fixture worked off at Panagoda.
The table leaders underlined their all-round superiority once again as they cruised to a resounding 366-run victory with more than a day to spare.
Even then, Chilaw Marians CC went through some anxious moments initially and they were under tremendous pressure after the side was dismissed for a modest 213 in the first innings.
CCC certainly made a splendid start to the game and they had all the reasons to feel confident after having produced a superb bowling display on the opening day.
However Chilaw Marians CC, like they have done in the previous games came out with a spirited performance on the field to restrict their opponents for 190 runs.
Malinda Pushpakumara continued his outstanding form with another controlled spell of bowling while Arosh Janoda and Isuru Udana also excelled while capturing wickets at vital stages of the game.
Chilaw Marians CC after claiming a close first innings lead never looked back from there onwards and went on to extend the overall lead beyond their opponents reach.
This was mainly due to a trailblazing 207 from Sachithra Serasinghe who compiled only the second double century of the tournament.
In fact, it was his teammate Shehan Jayasuriya who made the first double century of the tournament when he hammered a season highest 237 during a preliminary round fixture against the Bloomfield at Reid Avenue.
With opening batsman Vidura Adikari completing a maiden First-Class century, Chilaw Marians CC were able to pile up well over 400 runs in their second innings which almost sealed the game in their favour.
CCC of course had more than a day to reach their victory target of 485 runs but they surrendered rather meekly with their second innings lasting only 27.1 overs.
Pushpakumara who opened the bowling for Chilaw Marians CC ran through the CCC batting almost single handedly as he finished with his second seven-wicket haul in the tournament having produced a similar effort against the SSC earlier.
SSC vs Ragama CC
Meanwhile, SSC kept their hopes alive of winning the title with a smashing eight-wicket win over Ragama CC in their Premier Tournament Tier ‘A’ match played at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
This was a fine combined all-round effort that helped the SSC cruise to victory with all their key players making an impact on the field.
Even then, SSC’s bowling attack looked quite outstanding as they were able to dismiss the Ragama CC team for under 250 runs in each innings which was the key to their success.
First it was the left-arm paceman Vimukthi Perera who rocked the Ragama CC batting in the first innings with a hostile spell of bowling claiming five for 33.
He added two more scalps in the second innings but it were the spinners Sachithra Senanayake and Kasun Madushanka who really destroyed the Ragama CC batting with some penetrative bowling.
As a result Ragama CC were bowled out for a modest 201 in their second innings leaving the SSC an easy victory target of 33 runs.
This was a match where the SSC also proved their batting depth while scoring almost 400 runs in their first innings thanks to three solid half centuries.
In fact, two of those fifties were made by their number eight Sachithra Senanayake and number ten Tharindu Ratnayake as their last three wickets made a fantastic contribution of 136 runs.
NCC vs Colts CC
NCC had the satisfaction of recording their first win when they defeated Colts CC by six wickets in their Tier ‘A’ tournament match worked off at Katunayake.
After two successive defeats the NCC finally got their act together well and produced their best performance of the tournament to complete their task with more than a day to spare.
Paceman Lasith Embuldeniya certainly played an important role and his bowling performances in both innings helped the NCC to turn the game in their favour.
He produced an inspired spell of bowling to claim six wickets as Colts CC were bundled out for 192 in the first innings.
He then went on to complete a memorable game by adding four wickets to his tally in the second innings as the Colts CC were once again dismissed for less than 250 runs.
However, NCC will be somewhat disappointed that they could not put up a big total despite four of their batsmen completing half centuries.
Tamil Union vs Army SC
Sri Lanka Army Sports Club put up a stunning performance to beat the more fancied Tamil Union by innings and 30 runs in their Premier tournament Tier ‘A’ match played at the SSC Grounds in Maitland Place.
Army SC made their intentions clear very early and they had the game well under control after bowling out their opponents for 174 runs.
The pace-spin combination of Yasoda Mendis and Seekkuge Prasanna really tormented the Tamil Union batsmen as they shared seven wickets between them.
Prasanna later made his presence felt with the bat as well and with openers Leo Francisco and Lakshitha Madushan and Dilshan de Soysa also reaching the half century mark, Army SC went on to rattle up a formidable 383 in their first innings.
Tamil Union never looked like saving the game after they lost half of the side for only 81 runs and they were eventually bowled out for 179 runs in just over 50 overs.
Mendis once again impressed with three vital wickets while Nalin Priyadarshana and Dushan Vimukthi struck form with some accurate bowling.