St. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia managed to finish the opening day on a decent note posting 207 for six, on the back of two half-centuries, however, though, it was the Royalists claiming honors at the 143rd Battle of the Blues that commenced at the SSC grounds on Thursday (21).
Thomians, title-holders of the big match, were in significant trouble even before 100, when half of their team was back in the pavilion. But fresher, Charuka Perera, unbeaten on 51, and along with wicket-keeper Senesh Hettiarachchi 55, ensured they were not exposed to additional embarrassment.
In a revival act, they accumulated 94-runs.
Thomians after losing the toss, and inserted to bat first, were off to a slow and a sedate start. The opening pair – Shenadhi Bulankulama and Janindu Abeygunawardhane – appeared in no rush.
The sedate start though, was broken immediately after lunch, when Ramiru Perera caught-and-bowled an electrifying catch to remove Janindu Abeygunawardhane.
Abeygunawardhane, taking a painfully long time for his 93-ball 28, hit hard back to the bowler, but Perera took a one-handed stunner to end the opening wicket partnership of 53.
His fellow spinner, Dasis Manchanayake, in the immediate next over itself, dealt the double-trouble completely removing the opening pair.
The twin quick strikes brought their captain, Ryan Fernando. Best batter in their side Fernando tried to push back the pressure to the royalists.
However, in the blink of an eye, the thomians slid to a spot of bother at 81 for four. One of the causes was also the Royal captain, Gishan Balasooriya, sending Muizz Naushan only for one.
In a much-looked forward captain-to-captain contest, Balasooriya emerged the winner, removing his counterpart and the in-form batter, Fernando. The left-arm leggie picked up the right-handed in a prized scalp, succumbing to pressure and became part of the procession.
The post-tea session saw the pair for the sixth-wicket calming the jitters through a rebuilding effort. Their job was successful to the extent of recovering the innings with the second 50-run partnership of their innings.
Before the pair could bring up the badly-needed and a deserving hundred-run stand, they were thwarted by Perera, pulling off his second caught-and-bowl.
This time, he returned, making inroads and dismissing the first half-centurion and gloveman Hettiarachchi, ending a near-hundred-run stand.
STC: 207 for six (90) (Senesh Hettiarachchi 55, Charuka Peiris 51 not out, Gishan Balasooriya 2/52, Ramiru Perera 2/36)