By Srian Obeyesekere
On a dramatic opening day of Sri Lanka Cricket’s National Super League Tournament 2023 final when 14 wickets fell in see sawing fusion, Dambulla, was bowled out for 248 in 72.1 overs, but hit back to leave Galle reeling on 26 for 4 off just 10 overs with spin king Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva striking with 2 wickets in the bag for13 as Monday’s top bracket domestic long version 4-day decider took on a flighty air at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.
Put into bat, Dambulla owed it to opening batsman Abisheak Liyanarachchi who held firm on an uncertain track to stroke a compact 54 off 75 filled with 7 boundaries and a six, and a game captain’s knock by Minod Bhanuka exactly 50 off 84 muscled by 8 boundaries to holding the innings together taking stock of the situation following Liyanarachchi’s departure at 3 for 88 after 25.3 overs. Bhanuka sparred the Galle attack mounted by a threatening Dunith Wellalage to bringing Dambulla in sight of a durable 200 plus total leaving the stage on 6 for 181 after 83.4. The credit there also belonged to Sanoj Darshika whose 86-ball 37 tucked in 6 boundaries was a lending 76 fourth-wicket leverage.
Wellalage finished with a fine 5 for 58 return after Kavisha Anjula cleared the way by the early wicket of Sonal Dinusha for a duck and Pavan Rathnayake for 31 both caught by Sohan de Livera.
In the final thrust to the early, the honours went to Dambulla’s Lahiru Samarakoon’ who in that initial strike, sent back Galle’s Sohan de Livera for 7 caught by Bhanuka followed by Wanindu Hasaranga’s two-wicket act accounting for Sangeeth Cooray caught by Dinusha for a duck and trapping Lakshanka Edirisinghe leg before wicket for 4 before Ashan Priyanjan dealt the decisive blow of clean bowling the dodgy Dunith Wellalage for 3 to put Dambulla in the box seat as Galle groped on 4 for 26.
CHIEF SCORES: Dambulla 248 (72.1 Overs) (Abisheak Liyanarachchi 54. Minod Bhanuka 50, Sanoj Darshika 37, Pavan Rathnayake 31, Dushan Hemantha 27, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 15, Chamindu Wijesinghe 15, Dunith Wellalage 5/58, Kavisha Anjula 2/38, Sangeeth Cooray 1/23, Suminda Lakshan 1/35) Galle 26/4 (10 Overs) Heshan Dumindu n.o. 9, Pasindu Sooriyabandara n.o. 7, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2/13, Ashan Priyanjan 1/6, Lahiru Samarakoon 1/7)