NCC cleared the first hurdle in the race for the Under 23 Division One title when they bowled out arch rivals SSC for 290 after having made a mammoth 420 on day of the final played at the SSC ground.
On virtue of this first inning lead NCC are now almost assured of the title.
NCC held the edge at lunch as they grabbed two SSC wickets for 41. Resuming on their overnight score of 368 for 7 they lost overnight batsman Hashan Goonethilake for the addition of only one run but even then he had given the edge to NCC with a knock of 104 which had 14 boundaries.
On Friday, SSC skipper Hans Fernando inviting the opponent to take first lease of the wicket proved futile as they made merry and were made to toil the whole day on a lively batting wicket.
It were the NCC openers Demintha Dahanayake and Rajitha Mendis who laid the foundation for their final tally. The pair gave NCC the much needed booster by associating in a 76 runs stand in even time before the dismissal of Rajitha.
SSC in their turn had fluctuated fortunes being unable to recover from the set back of losing two early wickets with pacie Kosala Kulasekera doing the damage.
A knock of 78 from skipper Hans and a 111 by Shalika Karunanayake were insufficient to take them out of the woods as wickets fell at regular intervals. SSC now have a daunting task when the final day of play gets underway today in preventing NCC clinching the title.
NCC (368/7 o’night) 420 in 102 overs (Hashan Goonethilake 104, Demintha Dahanayake 82, Eranga Gangoda 53, Sandun Dias 43, Rajitha Mendis 31, Shashrika Pussegolla 18, Chamindu Ishanka 18, Roshan Laksiri 21 n.o.: Milan Fernando 5 for 118, Shalika Karunanayake 2 for 75)
SSC 290 in 75 overs (Shalika Karunanayake 111, Hans Fernando 78, Dhanushka Colombage 22, Chathupama Gunasinghe 19, Ryan Kern 17: Kosala Kulasekera 3 for 38, Eranga Gangoda 2 for 48, Demintha Dahanayake 2 for 61, Roshan Laksiri 2 for 87)