Colombo loses grip, Kandy heads for big total

Friday, 1 April 2022 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Madawa Warnapura (left) and Kusal Mendis during their 111-run liaison for the fourth wicket for Colombo against Jaffna

 Jaffna skipper Dhananjaya de Silva picked up four wickets on the opening day against Colombo

National Super League semi-finals

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

National cricketers Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva took the honours on the first day of the National Super League semi-final between Colombo and Jaffna played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota yesterday.

Powered by an undefeated 83 off 185 balls (8 fours) from Mendis who shared a fourth wicket stand of 111 with Madawa Warnapura (42), Colombo who won the toss and chose to bat first played themselves into a strong position at 194-3 before De Silva, the Jaffna skipper struck with his probing off-breaks to snatch the initiative from Colombo. He sent back Sithara Gimhan (7) and Lakshitha Manasinghe (0) in one over as Colombo stumbled to 224-6 by stumps, losing three wickets for nine runs in the final session.

De Silva who had earlier dismissed national Test and Colombo captain Dimuth Karunaratne (39) and Promod Maduwantha (2) finished the day with impressive figures of 4 for 42. A lot will depend on how much of support Mendis who has played a solid innings so far can receive from the late order batters for Colombo to come up with a total that can throw a challenge at the Jaffna batsmen.

Rain halted Kandy’s progress towards a big first innings total on the opening day of the second semi-final against Galle at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Only two sessions of play were possible during which period Kandy invited to bat first by Galle had progressed to 192-2. There was no play after tea.

The two batsmen at the wickets for Kandy – Oshada Fernando and skipper Kamindu Mendis were ominous signs for Galle. Both batsmen have completed their respective fifties and were unbeaten at the end of the day. Fernando having scored seven fours in his 71 off 141 balls, and Mendis who has been in remarkable touch with the bat right throughout the tournament on 51 (his seventh score of over 50 in an innings) off 65 balls (5 fours, 1 six). Their partnership so far is worth 81 and looking good.

The two Kandy wickets to fall – Kamil Mishara (18) and Kasun Vidura (45) were taken by all-rounder Dhananjaya Lakshan. If Galle is to make any headway in this match, they will need to get rid of the two

overnight batsmen as early as possible when play resumes today on the second day.

First day scores:

At Hambantota: Colombo 224-6 at close (Krishan Sanjula 39, Dimuth Karunaratne 39, Kusal Mendis 83*, Madawa Warnapura 42, Dhananjaya de Silva 4/42) v Jaffna

At Pallekele: Kandy 192-2 at close (Kasun Vidura 45, Oshada Fernando 71*, Kamindu Mendis 51*, Dhananjaya Lakshan 2/29) v Galle