Day 1 of the 111th Battle of the North between St. John’s College and Jaffna Central College ended with the match hanging in the balance as St. John’s trail by 50 runs in their first innings at Jaffna College grounds.
St. John’s showed dominance with the bat in hand in their first innings against their traditional rivals Jaffna Central College. The opening pair P. Somaskaran and P. Thulakshan added 68 runs for the first wicket to lay down the foundation. Thulakshan scored 41 before he was clean bowled by Thasopan.
Thasopan went on to take the wicket of Somaskaran for 15 and in the next over no 3 batsman C. Thevaprasath was dismissed for just 1, bringing the home team back into the game. St John’s went from 68 for none to 69 for 3.
Apart from those three quick wickets, St John’s did a much better job with the bat in hand comparatively to their rivals. Skipper Jeniflamin and K Kishanthujan put together a quick-fire partnership of 40 runs before Krishanthujan got caught brilliantly at the slips for 29 runs. Jaffna Central struck gold in the very last ball of the day by taking the wicket of Joseph Stalon, leaving their opponents in a spot of bother at 114 for 5 at stumps.
Early on, St John’s skipper SP Jeniflamin won the toss and asked the home side to bat first. St. John’s started off brilliantly with a wicket off the very first over but a 35-run cameo from S Kawthaman helped Jaffna Central settle in. Apart from the knock from Kawthaman, Jaffna Central top order perished for scores below 10 which included three ducks. Luckily for them, their late middle order chipped in with a few good knocks, with S Thasopan top scoring with 48 runs.
K Kabilraj was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with figures of 4 for 39 runs, while Jathushan and Abinash took 3 scalps each to bundle out the home side for 164 runs in 57.4 overs.
The 2nd days play will commence tomorrow with St John’s still trailing by 50 runs with 5 wickets in hand.