Royal in trouble after late wickets

S Thomas’ College picked up 4 crucial wickets in the final session of play on day 2 of the 141st Battle of the Blues encounter to leave Royal College in a bit of trouble on 127/4, trailing by 242 runs.

The game was looking like it was heading for a certain draw with the Thomians batting out the 1st session of play to reach 369 before Royal’s openers Kamil Mishara and Kushan Kulasooriya too inexplicably just looked to occupy the crease in the afternoon session of play.

The pair put on 61 for the 1st wicket, but it came in 32.3 overs before Kishan Munasinghe got Kulasooriya to nick to slip where Shalin de Mel grabbed the opportunity with both hands. De Mel took another sharp catch at slip off the same bowler to send Mishara back to the pavilion with 32 off 106 deliveries.

With Royal 82/2, S Thomas’ took the onus on themselves to bring some life back into the game as skipper Thevin Eriyagama struck next with a peach of a delivery just outside the off-stump, which drew the false shot from Kavindu Madarasinghe who nicked behind to keeper Gavin Botheju. With Madarasinghe and Mishara back in the pavilion, the weight of expectations fell on the shoulders of Ahan Wickramasinghe, who, to his credit, showed some intent to keep the scoreboard ticking alongside partner Isiwara Dissanayake.

However, with light fading, Eriyagama brought in one of his frontline pacemen in Caniston Gunaratnam and the youngster struck almost immediately, getting Wickramasinghe to pull one straight to the fielder at deep square leg in the penultimate over of the day. 

Earlier in the day, the Thomians drew some criticism for their approach with the bat as they showed little intent to get a move on in the 1st session of play, with overnight batsmen Botheju and Manisha Rupasinghe continuing from where they left off last evening. 

Unfortunately for Royal, they too continued from where they left off yesterday in terms of their fielding, letting off both Botheju and Rupasinghe within the 1st hour of play. Kaushan Kulasooriya was one of the culprits once again at slip, while Madarasinghe also dropped a regulation chance before being replaced by Mishara behind the stumps.

Botheju and Rupasinghe put on exactly 50 runs for the 7th wicket, before the latter was run-out by a brilliant direct hit from Wickramasinghe at mid-off. Wickramasinghe’s fielding also accounted for the wicket of Botheju, who fell for a labored, yet valuable 54. Kavindu Pathirathne put on another inspired bowling performance but got just the wicket of Yasiru Rodrigo to show for his efforts today.

The last wicket partnership between skipper Eriyagama and Gunaratnam frustrated one and all but the pair put on 59 runs, which could ultimately prove decisive in getting a result in S Thomas’ favor.

Overall after a good display with the ball and in the field, it was another day S Thomas will be happy with while the Royalists will know that they will have to put in a serious effort on the third day to force a result or even draw the game.

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