Royal College placed themselves in sight of a remarkable victory after reducing S. Thomas’ to 84 for six at lunch on the final day of the 144th Battle of Blues cricket match here at the SSC grounds.
Chasing a mammoth total of 342, Thomians trailed by 258 with four wickets in hand.
The final day started with all set for a Royal victory charge, and a Thomian grit to save the day.
This was after the expected Royal overnight declaration came in at 168 for four.
Captain Romesh Mendis and Co., were handed a herculean task to bat out the entire day to win or save the game.
However, the Thomian pursuit got off to the feared, losing their opener Thisen Ehaliyagoda for a three-ball duck.
Shortly since the Thoras’ and Dineth Goonewardena breathed a big sigh of relief when he edged and fell short of second slip. The opener was still on zero then.
However, horror struck when their captain Mendis was trapped leg-before, sending jitters within his camp, and erupting the Royal camp.
The pressure too was extra-than-usual on Mendis’s shoulders, as the situation demanded a saviour for S. Thomas’
Goonewardene failed to make the most of the reprieve he enjoyed, by holing out at square leg.
Sandesh Ramanayake picked up his first, however, it’s the fielder Uvindu Weerasekera, who deserved the credit, for pulling off a one-handed stunner.
The shield holders simply lacked the staying power and instead collapsed in a mighty hurry.
Royal captain Dasis Manchanayake joined the party removing Mahith Perera for a run-a-ball seven. Nathan Caldera abandoned the ship looking to sweep.
Royalists, milking the moment, applied pressure well.
Brief scores at lunch:
Royal: 326 for eight decl (74) (o’night) (Dasis Manchanayake 137, Ramiru Perera 128, Ovina Abanpola 30, Akash Fernando 4/55, Kavindu Dias 3/58, Nathan Caldera 1/64) and 168 for four decl (26) (Dasis Manchanayake 57, Ramiru Perera 46 not out, Uvindu Weerasekera 28, Akash Fernando 4/35)
STC: 153 all out (55) (Senadhi Bulankulama 40, Mahith Perera 30, Ranuka Malaviarachchi 2/35, Bulan Weerathunga 3/26, Sandesh Ramanayake 2/36, Sineth Jayawardena 2/9, Ramiru Perera 1/30) and 84 for six (29) (Nathan Caldera 18, Dharmarathna 2/15, Malaviarachchi 1/16, Weerathunga 1/18, Ramanayake 1/11, Manchanayake 1/9)