Fernando left for the UK after the semi-final match to play in the English leagues and the burden of captaincy fell on opening bat Sandun Fernando who did not perform all that badly capturing two vital wickets for 20 runs with his part-time off-breaks as Tamil Union’s batting came under strict scrutiny from the Sebastianites spinners.
Tamil Union’s 22-year-old right-hander from Maris Stella College Negombo, Ravindu Fernando held the innings together with an unbeaten knock of 63 and when rain cut short the day’s play at the tea break he had stitched a valuable unfinished partnership of 31 with Sri Lanka Under-19 World Cup player Raveen de Silva.
The pair came together with Tamil Union not too happily placed at 170-7. With Fernando playing the sheet anchor role hitting four fours and a six in his 95-ball innings, De Silva threw caution to the wind to hit two fours and a six in his unbeaten knock of 21 which came off 20 balls.
The damage to the Tamil Union batting was done by the Sebastianites spinners Tharindu Ratnayake and Sandun Fernando who captured five wickets between them and the part-time medium-pace of Manelker de Silva (2 wickets).
Ratnayake who bowls with both hands accounted for three of the top four Tamil Union wickets – Navod Paranavithana (10), Kamlesh Nirmal (8) and Santhush Gunathilaka (27) to end the day with figures of 3 for 91 off 30 overs, half the number sent down on the rain shortened day.
Tamil Union at one stage had lost half the side for 99 and were 108-6 before Fernando and Kavindu Pathiratne brought some sort of respectability to the total by indulging in a valuable seventh wicket stand of 62.
Pathiratne was trapped leg before wicket by De Silva shortly before the tea break for 24 off 65 balls (3 fours), but Fernando found another ally in De Silva. A lot will depend on this pair and the remaining two tailenders to push Tamil Union towards a competitive total which their bowlers can defend.
The match will continue on its second day today. Scores: Tamil Union 201-7 at close (Supun Kavinda 24, Santhush Gunathilaka 27, Ravindu Fernando 63*, Kavindu Pathiratne 24, Raveen de Silva 21*, Tharindu Ratnayake 3/91, Manelker de Silva 2/36, Sandun Fernando 2/20) v Sebastianites.