After lunch Ramanayake picked up the set batsman, Dellon Peiris for 22 as Embuldeniya dismissed the Thomian skipper Jayathilaka for 2 and Ramanayake his 4th.; having Dilendra Gunathilaka caught at slip.
At 84 for 8 the last two Thomian wickets put on 43 runs with Senal De Silva scoring an unbeaten 28 frustrating the Royalists. Finally Duvindu Hettiarachchi took the final wicket of Hansaka Liyanarachchi giving Royal more than enough overs to score the winning 150.
All Photos – 137th Battle of the Blues
Royal came into bat with high hopes and plenty of overs to chase the target. De Silva dismissed Ronuka Jayawardena for 0 in the first over, Naveen Withanapathirana made a blitzkrieg 29 until he got out when the score was 42 for 1.
Rashmika Opatha then got the wicket of Thiran Dhanapala for 10, temporarily stalling the Royal run chase and allowing the Thomian camp some hope. However, Sooriyabandara once again got together with Malith Kariyawasam building steadily until he was caught by Gunathilaka off Liyanarachchi as the Thomians used the fast bowlers eating up as much time as possible.
Skipper Geeshath Panditharatne then put on a vital 44 run partnership for the 5th wicket. With 27 runs more for victory, Tillakaratne bowled Panditharatne as once again the pendulum started to swing. A packed house was on their toes witnessing why the Royal-Thomian series always brought out the “spectacular”.
Jayathilaka dismissed Helitha Vithanage 9 runs later but the responsible Kariyawasam guided the chase with Ganith Sandeepa, the pair showing a lot of guts and tremendous temperament scoring the winning runs amidst dying light bringing memories of another similar victory a decade ago.
The Thomians started the 137th Battle of the Blues in grand fashion with Rashmika Opatha crafting the fastest century in the history of the encounters scoring 100 in 95 deliveries. His swashbuckling knock came in for praise from many a pundit as the Thomians declared their innings at 350 for 5 in 75 overs. Royal’s reply at the end of day stood at 280 for 7 after being 122 for 5 with freshers Sooriyabandara and Kariyawasam holding sway for 139 two short of the 6th wicket record.
A topic that was spoken of as much as the Royal victory was the Thomian sportsmanship which did not allow ‘delaying’ tactics which was well within their rights. Skipper Jayathilake was seen hurrying his troops where-ever delays were occurring.