Jaffna were in the box seat needling just 67 more runs to reach the finals of the Sri Lanka Cricket National Super League Tournament having reversed fortunes against Colombo by the close of play on the third day at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium at Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on Saturday.. (2) Needing 92 to make it Jaffna were 25 for no loss in what would be a formality with a whole day remaining on the fourth and final day barring bad weather.
Trailing Colombo by 68 runs with two wickets intact Jaffna’s remarkable turn around was scripted by Samida Fernando who reeled out a brilliant back to the wall 123 in translating his overnight 76 to lifting his side from a lowly position to big heights. It was the perfect platform for Jaffna’s great comeback as Fernando figured in a record 140-run ninth-wicket partnership with Nipun Malinga who smashed 80 off just 84 balls laced with 6 sixers and an equal number of boundaries. It was a typical bowler turned batsman to the fore as Malinga was to equally hog the spotlight as his century making teammate.
The 167-run first innings lead set up the stage for Jaffna’s bowlers to d demolish the strong Colombo batting line–up for 158 with both openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Krishan Sanjula sent back for ducks by Dilum Sudeera. Only Pramod Maduwantha, in a vain defiance of an unbeaten 54 and Kusal Mendis, the first innings century maker, with 39 were among the runs for Colombo in that bleeding.