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Old 14-03-16, 06:24 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default 137th Battle of the Blues Marathon man Sooriyabandara defies Thomians

137th Battle of the Blues
Marathon man Sooriyabandara defies Thomians
March 12, 2016, 12:00 pm

by Reemus Fernando

Fresher Pasindu Sooriyabandara anchored the Royal batting line-up with an unbeaten 97 runs as they recovered from being 96 for four wickets at one stage to reach 280 for seven at stumps in reply to Thomian’s 350 for five wickets declared on day two of the 137th Battle of the Blues at the SSC on Friday.

Royal batted patiently in the morning but young paceman Yohan Perera could provide the first breakthrough and take two quick wickets at the stroke of the lunch to place them at 96 for four. Number three batsman Sooriyabandara rose to the occasion with a marathon innings that had lasted 382 minutes by the stumps. He was involved in a 139 runs stand for the sixth wicket with another fresher, number seven batsman, Malith Kariyawasam who scored 78 runs.

The duo made sure that Royal avoid the follow on and reach a position that will put pressure back on their opposition who entered the annual battle as slight favourites.

Their sensible batting either side of the tea break proved vital for them and frustrating for the opposition as no other batsmen could top 30 runs.

Sooriyabandara scored just 13 fours in his knock for which he faced 283 balls.

Kariyawasam’s knock included 12 fours.

Perera was the pick of the bowlers. The paceman bowled two superb spells before lunch taking a wicket in the first over of each spell in the morning session. Perera accounted for opener Naveen Vidanapathirana and Royal skipper Geeshath Panditharatne in the first over of his first two spells. He had both left handers caught at slips. Vidanapathirana was the first to depart caught by Ravindu Kodituwakku at slips for 24 runs (5x4s).

Left-arm spinner Dellon Peiris had the other opener Ronuka Jayawardena playing upishly to be caught by Shenal de Silva for two runs. Sooriyabandara and skipper Panditharatne were repairing the damage when Perera was reintroduced to the attack in the last over before lunch. He had Royal skipper edging one to slips where Rumesh Nallaperuma held a low catch to dismiss him for 26 runs. He scored four fours and a six in his 26 runs. Royal sent tail-ender Lasith Embuldeniya instead of Tiran Danapala to face the last few balls before lunch. But the gamble did not pay off as he was given out lbw to a Perera delivery in the same over.

Hansaka Liyanarachchi picked up two wickets, while Sachitha Jayathilaka picked up one wicket.

Last edited by sriyanj; 14-03-16 at 07:29 PM.
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