Sri Lanka professional, Janaka Gunaratne, smashed 6 sixes in an over and took 8-41 for Clitheroe in the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League in Lancashire.The 34-year-old became the first player in the league to score 36 in one over, but opponents Ribblesdale Wanderers think they should have had Gunaratne’s wicket when he was still to get off the mark.
His explosive hitting off the final over of the innings bowled by Ian Britcliffe, who finished with 6-80 from his 15 overs, saw four balls lost.
“Janaka was bowled, second ball off-stump by Jordan Britcliffe,” insisted Britcliffe to the Lancashire Telegraph. “But the square-leg umpire, Frank Newby, reckoned the ball came back off the wicket-keeper. We could not believe it.
“The game was stopped for five minutes or more and a few words said before Janaka was called back. At the end he hit me good and proper, over the bowling green, over the car park, everywhere. I had bowled off a one-pace run-up because we had been told to bowl our last four overs in five minutes. But I was off my usual long run for those last six balls.”
Clitheroe captain Paul Gaskell said: “Wanderers were adamant Janaka was out. But it was not clear and he did not believe he was out. There were two noises and the square-leg umpire reckoned it came off the wicket-keeper. At the end, Janaka’s batting was a joy to watch. There was some big hitting and it definitely swung the game.
Gunaratne himself said later, “No, I don’t think I was out at that time because I heard only the bowl hitting keepers pad.”
Colombo-born Gunaratne, who plays first-class cricket for Moors Sports Club in Sri Lanka, ended with 79 not out and then claimed 8-41 as the Lancashire Cup semi-finalists and Senior League leaders secured a 54-run victory.
Gunaratne represented his country at Under-19 and A team level and has played 157 first-class games scoring 8,253 at an average of 39.84. His off-spin has also bagged 308 wickets at 27.86. He is one of the best players from Sri Lanka never have represented the full Sri Lankan side.
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James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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