In their annual cricket encounter, played this year in Hamilton, Sri Lankan Cricket Club of Auckland wrested the Hamilton-Auckland Friendship Cup with a 98-run victory over Hamilton's Lanka Lions at Flagstaff Park last Saturday.
Having lost the toss and invited to take first lease of the wicket, the visitors made the worst possible start as local skipper Prasad Wickremasinghe, taking maximum advantage of the overcast conditions, snared opening batsman Krishan Le Grand into a false stroke in his first over before a run was scored.
It then took the steely determination of Gayan and Dimuthu to repair the damage with a fluent second wicket stand of 126 runs in 15 overs.
Gayan retired after completing a fine half century, paving the way for Dimuthu to continue his assault on the bowlers in the company of Prabash.
Hamilton struck back, with some clever bowling through spinner Hasitha and caused the visitors to collapse from 180/2 to 242/8 in the 35th over.
Dimuthu carried his bat for an attacking 70 with the aid of one six and eight fours. Hasitha returned the impressive figures of 3/39 and Prasad scalped 3/35.
Faced with a target of scoring over seven runs per over in pursuit of victory, Hamilton's openers, Sasith Fernando and Dilan made a sedate start scoring 37 runs in eight overs against some tight bowling by Keerthi and Vasantha.
While all the bowlers bowled impeccable lengths to strangle the local batsmen, it was spinner Suren Surendran who mesmerised the batsman with his flight and turn backed by some brilliant fielding.
Gayan was first to go, falling to an excellent diving catch by Surendran off the bowling of Sunitha Goonetilleke. Surendran then extracted vicious turn to lure the batsmen into false strokes and despite the heroics of middle order veteran Susith Fernando, who top scored with 32, Hamilton were bowled out for 144 in the 33rd over.
Surendran returned the impressive figures of 5/27.Gayan, Dimuthu and Surendran shared the Man of the Match award.
The inaugural match was played last year in Auckland with Hamilton pulling off a close win.
Sri Lankan Cricket Club — Auckland 242/8 in 35 overs (Dimuthu 70 not out, Gayan 50 retired, Prabash 36, Prasad 3/35, Hasitha 3/39)
Lanka Lions — Hamilton 144 all out in 33 overs (Dilan 25, Susith 32, Suren Surendran 5/27).