Cooray’s five wicket haul highlight on day one

81st Battle of the Maroons at the SSC Grounds
By David Stephens

In all probabilities the 81st Battle of the Maroons is heading towards an inevitable draw at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds. At the end of the first day in reply to Ananda’s first innings total of 191, Nalanda had progressed to a slow 69 for 2 made in 21 overs of batting.

Nalanada’s Nipun Karunanayaka and Suranga Thennakoon were both undeafeated on 38 and 7 respectively at the close of play. Nipun Karunanayaka, who is in fine touch this season, struck 6 magnificent fours in his innings.

Nalanda medium fast bowler Rangana Cooray in action at the 81st Battle of the Maroons at the SSC grounds, yesterday. (Pic by Sanka Vidanagama)

At the start of the day after winning the toss and putting Ananda in to bat, the boys from Campbell Place made life at the SSC wicket excruciatingly difficult for the tentative Ananda batsmen. Nalandian paceman Adeesha Nanayakkara was the first to get into the wicket taking act. He trapped Geshan Wimaladharma during the first over of the match before a single run was posted on the board.

Wimaladharma was then followed by Minura Janadhi an over later. Janadhi played a loose shot to pick out Nipuna Karunanayake and award Paceman Rangana Cooray his first wicket. Cooray went on to snatch a five wicket haul, claiming the scalps of Sachin Dewage, Madumal Jayaratne, Thushara Samarakoon and Pasindu Madushan. Ruwinda Shamen, who was the highest scorer in the Anandian innings, featured in a crucial partnership of 65 with the Anandian captain Matheesha Rasuwan who himself scored 35 runs.

Shamen cracked 7 spectacular fours along with the Anandian inning’s solitary six. Before the lunch interval there was another noteworthy partnership of 32 runs between Pasindu Madushan and Sachin Dewage . It came to an end when Cooray produced a magical inswinging delivery that clipped the inside edge of Dewage’s bat before crashing into his stumps.

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