16-year old Kalana Wijesiri’s fighting and extraordinary century secured the ‘Singer’ U19 division 1 schools league title to Ananda College as Richmond College was denied of a dual crown in a dramatic second day’s play in the final which concluded today at Thurstan Grounds.
Chasing a mammoth target of 308 after the Richmondites declared overnight, the lads from Ananda Mawatha lost two quick wickets early on today. Right-handed Kavindu Gimhan departed for 1 while left-hander Kanishka Ranthilakage was dismissed for 11 runs. Richmond opening bowling duo, Thilanga Udeeshana and Dhananjaya Lakshan were superb with the new ball.
Ananda were in a spot of bother at 14 for 2 when all-rounder Asel Sigera and right-hander Kalana Wijesiri constructed a superb 105 for the 3rd wicket stand raising hopes for the Anandians. Asel Sigera was sent back after a fighting 54 off 98 deliveries which included 6 boundaries and a massive six.
Ananda slumped further as their most experienced player, Sammu Ashan tried to go big against the off-spinner Sandun Mendis but only managing to hold out for a duck. Mendis struck once again to remove another key figure of the Ananda batting line-up, Kamesh Nirmal for a mere 3 runs.
Ananda soon found themselves at 125 for 5 down struggling in the middle stages of the game, then came their skipper Kavishka Anjula who were a part of another 52-run partnership with Wijesiri. Anjula made a quick-fire 35 off 32 balls that included 3 maximums and 2 boundaries.
Left-arm spinner Avindu Theekshana had other ideas as he picked up two crucial scalps including the skipper Anjula along with wicket-keeper Lahiru Attanayake as the double crown seemed within reach. While losing partners in the opposite end, the teenager Wijesiri steadied the ship for Ananda College in a resilient innings showing immense character.
Both Wijesiri and Supun Waragoda added an unbeaten 86 run stand for the 8th wicket after the tea break as Ananda College finished on a superior run-rate (0.41) to win the game even though the match ended without a result. As per SLSCA points, Ananda College received 0.50 bonus points for Wijesiri’s century which ultimately made the difference.
Wijesiri batted almost 6 hours in the second day and made an unbeaten 130 that included 18 fours and a six to guide Ananda College along with all-rounder Waragoda who supported well to remain not out on 27 off 110 balls.
Earlier on day one, Richmond College posted 307 for 8 wickets in 95 overs. In-form Avindu Theekshana was the star of day one as he made an outstanding 80 off 160 balls, while Sandun Mendis stroked an unbeaten 64 to boost the Richmond innings yesterday.
Richmond College – 307/8 in 95 overs – Avindu Theekshana 80, Sandun Mendis 64*, Thaveesha Abishek 46, Duveen Kalansuriya 36*, Kasun Tharaka 25, Supun Waragoda 4/91, Asel Sigera 2/80.
Ananda College – 273/7 in 95 overs – Kalana Wijesiri 130*, Asel Sigera 54, Kavishka Anjula 35, Supun Waragoda 27*, Thilanga Udeshana 2/32, Avindu Theekshana 2/54.
Man of the Final – Kalana Wijesiri