By Lance Jenkinson
Keilor’s season will be on the line at Kings Park Reserve this Saturday in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division.
If the Blues can find a way to a road victory, they will give themselves a sneaky chance of reaching the finals.
A loss though will spell curtains for the Blues’ top four hopes and the final two rounds will be focused on avoiding relegation.
With a Callum Guest-inspired 217 on the board and St Albans still requiring 184 with nine wickets in hand, Keilor captain Kaushal Lokuarachchi believes his side is well placed for a successful defence if given similar conditions.
“We’ve got the momentum,” he said. “We’ve got to keep going.
“If we can get a few early wickets next week, we can defend the runs.”
Lokuarachchi was ruing Keilor’s failure to eat further into the St Albans batting line-up.
The Saints finished the day on 1-33, but it could have been a whole lot worse.
“Ideally we would’ve had two more wickets,” he said.
“We missed two chances, one stumping and one catch.
“I would’ve liked to have had three down, but I’ll take the one wicket anyway.”
Aside from one over of pace from Dinesh Daminda, Keilor opted to use spin for six of the seven overs late in the day.
With four spinning options, the Blues will rely heavily on the slow bowling options on day two. Off-spinner Guest already snared one wicket en route to 1-1 off four overs.
“The wicket is turning square,” Lokuarachchi said. “We have four spinners, so the game is on our end now.”
Keilor’s innings threatened to unravel at 7-84.
The saviours for the Blues with the bat were Guest, with 75 not out off 122 balls, including eight fours, and the entertaining Daminda, who made 50 off 44, including six fours and two sixes.
“We bat all the way down,” Lokuarachchi said.
“I told the boys just to bat, create a few partnerships. “We were in a tough situation and they came out and batted really well.”
Guest was the star of the show for Keilor, but he was only given the chance to push on through assistant from tail-ender Nilanka Premaratne, who made 13 valuable runs of his own. “
He made a massive contribution Lokuarachchi said.
“He supported Callum all the way.”
The pick of the bowlers for St Albans were Arosh Janoda (3-39) and Geeth Alwis (3-54).
Meanwhile, Sunshine United will need a day two miracle against top-of-the-ladder Doutta Stars.
United posted just 122 and the Stars are in a powerful position at 1-62.