pitches will play a big role
Fast, bouncy pitches is what South Africa is supposed to produce.
With 2 weeks of the world cup games being played, there has been
no evidence of such tracks.
The ICC has instructed all ground authorities to ensure the pitches
provide plenty of runs. That is the essence of one day category.
are making an effort to satisfy this requirement. In doing so they
are having to sacrifice pace and bounce. To reduce these two qualities
of a pitch the quantity of water applied onto the surface has to
be reduced and rolling time also has to be reduced. The grass must
be mowed from early on in preparation. That from a week before the
game, with the final cut being given about thirty six hours before
the game. That is about the time all preparation work should conclude.
all five one day internationals Sri Lanka played against South Africa,
two-and-a-half months ago, it is surprising to observe the lack
of genuine pace and bounce at present. During that series every
pitch, of the five venues used, gave the quick bowlers assistance
and very little for the spinners. Sri Lanka were battered 4-1 in
the result. The experience was invaluable. Coupled with the series
in Australia, the Lankans could not ask for better match practice.
Although it is still very early days, present form indicates Sri
Lanka as playing next best to Australia.
The home team,
South Africa, have definitely been affected by these surfaces. Alan
Donald, Jacques Kallis and to a lesser extent Lance Kluesner have
been unable to extract that extra bit from the surface. Nicky Boje
who is not a top bracket spinner has also been expensive. This has
left Shaun Pollock and Makaya Ntini to bear the brunt of the attack.
Now as they prepare to tackle weaker opposition, fresh thinking
and a different approach will have to be planned out. Meanwhile,
with rain robbing West Indies of a win against Bangladesh, another
ray of hope has appeared in the horizon for South Africa.
It is the tail
end of the summer in that part of the world and the preceding dry
months have also taken all the juice off the pitches. In their attempt
to prepare moisture-less, good batting pitches, excessive dryness
could make the surfaces suit spin bowling and also the slower medium
Harbajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Daniel Vittori, Brad Hogg, Saqlain
Mushtaq, Asley Giles and the other support spinners will be licking
their fingers and hoping this quality in the pitches will remain
or increase as the tournament progresses.
A little bit
of movement off the pitch at the beginning, not too steep bounce,
pace that can be handled, some assistance for the spinners, hard
work to get runs off the slower medium pace bowlers, 280 runs being
a good score, could be the governing factors as the competition
reaches its climaxing stages. Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand
and India (should their batsman regain form) are the teams equipped
74th Battle of the Maroons at the SSC on March 1 and 2 Ananda-Nalanda
points to close contest this year
Both teams evenly matched
By Bernie Wijesekera
The much look forward to the 74th "Battle of the Maroons"
between two leading Buddhist schools - Ananda and Nalanda - should
turn out to be a good contest. This year's encounter will take place
at the SSC grounds on March 1 and 2.
have a cherished cricketing history. They have produced some of
the finest players to the country at national level. For both schools
it was a slippery climb to the top against some seasoned contenders
in the school cricket fraternity.
surely they produced quality players, thanks to those who developed
the game at grassroots level. Ananda had G.W. Rajapakse, a doyen
of Ananda, who taught them to play the game hard and for the right
seasons as the master-in-charge. Unlike today, Nalanda too had its
humble beginnings with its cadjan shed pavilion after the Second
the distinction of producing the first test Captain Bandula Warnapura,
while Ananda has to their credit the most successful Sri Lanka captain
Arjuna Ranatunga, who led from the front for the country to win
the World Cup final against Australia (Lahore) in 1996. In that
team there were three Nalandians who served the country well - Asanka
Gurusinha, Roshan Mahanama and Kumar Dharmasena and Ananda's Marvan
In 1953 Nalanda
won a thrilling match under late W.W. Silva - thanks to the sporting
declaration offered to them by Ananda skipper Henry Seneviratne.
Since then it has been a long drought of 50 years. Will they be
able to break that jinx this time?
have not performed well in the ongoing season. The teams are being
coached by two old boys - Anuruddha Polonowita (Ananda) and Jayantha
This year Ananda
is being led by Damindu Kularatne - a solid opening batsman, who
has been among the runs. He has made 524 runs with a best effort
119 against Richmond. Co-opener Pradeep Boteju with 440 runs has
been batting consistently well. Sans glamour players the batting
looks reasonably sound. Janujika Sriyapala made 107 against S. Thomas'
Mt Lavinia. He has made 327 runs to-date. Tilina Dissanayake, bowling
all-rounder Rakitha Wimaladharama a fine off-spinner has been among
the wickets. He bats with confidence in the lower order. The other
batsman to impress is Mahela Udawatte 327 runs.
is being shared by Isuru Dias and Charit Jayaweera. Both bowl effectively.
However the close-in cordon has let them down. Spinners Wimaladharma
and left-armer Asela Ranasinghe (50 wkts). His best effort of 5
for 40 is against St. Benedict's. Some of their games have been
marred by fickle weather. Ananda got the better of Richmond, Dharmapala,
Dharmasoka, and Maliyadeva on the first innings. They lost to St.
Peter's and D.S. Senanayake College, on the first innings.
match could have gone either way, outright. Humid conditions prevailing
this part of the year with a hard fast pitch, with even bounce it
should provide interesting cricket to fans. New-look Side Last year
Nalanda beat Ananda on the first innings in the Big 'un, but lost
the one-dayer played for the Dr. N.M. Perera trophy.
by third year coloursman Sanjaya Gangodawila, will be fielding a
new look side packed with freshers. Sanjaya, one of the most outstanding
allrounders in the schools, is a punishing left-handed batsman.
He has amassed 730 runs - with a top score of 140 against Dharmaraja.
Besides he has a rich haul of 40 wkts.
They have an attacking opening pair. Sri Lanka under-15 youth player,
Sachithra Serasinghe and S. Madawela have been batting regularly
well. He has chipped three 100s this season -142 - Isipatana, 123
- (Royal), 107 Maliyadeva.
scored 115 against S. Thomas'. There is much depth in the lower
order. Yasas Hewawitharne, Gihan Rupasinghe, Madura Warnapura (son
of Bandula) T. Attanayake scored 70 n.o. against Royal and 68 against
SACK, Virendra Pathirana, Tharun Ranasinghe (son of late Anura)
is a youngster with much promise (playing his first year in the
big league) and Sameera Abeysinghe form the nucleus of the batting.
outright to St. Sebastian's and to St. Peter's. After winning on
the first innings over the Peterites, their batting in the second
innings ran into a calamity which was the result for their demise.
They won on the first innings over Isipatana, Richmond, DSSMV.,
Thurstan and Wesley. They lost to S. Thomas' on the first innings
in a high scoring game and conceded a first innings win to Dharmasoka.
Record Ananda - 11 wins. Nalanda - 6
69th "Battle of the Saints" on February 28
and March 1
Who will break the twenty four year
By M. Shamil Amit
It is nearly a quarter of a century since the last win was produced
in the annual 'Battle of the Saints'. The last being in 1978 when
St Peter's led by Suraj Abeysekera defeated their arch rivals by
six wickets which was there seventh win of the series. The Joes
last win was in the year 1972 when the team was led by Rohan Fernando
winning the game by an innings in the process registering their
28 the present and old boys of the two Catholic institutions in
Colombo will trek to the P. Sara Stadium to witness one of the biggest
happening in the schools sport calendar of both the schools and
cheer their respective teams and to see who will lay the hands on
the Fr. Maurice Legoc Trophy which is on offer. Going back to the
inaugural match of the series which started in 1933 the Joes led
tasted success the team was led by Robert Fernando while the first
win for the Petes came only 13 years later in 1946 the team was
led by Dion Walles. The Josephians has the honour of scoring the
highest score in the series when in 1952 they hit a massive 382
while the lowest score in the series by St Peter's when they shot
out for 36 in 1972.
The best individual
score for the series is in the name of Clive Inman of St Peter's
who slammed an unbeaten 204 in 1954 while Josephian S. Warnakula
has the best bowling figures of 9 for 41 set in 1997. Fred Perera
of St Joseph's has the honour of taking the only hat trick of the
series which he did it in 1934. Looking forward to the 69th encounter
scheduled for next week the Peterites seems to have an advantage
over their arch rivals remaining unbeaten in the ongoing inter-school
cricket season while the Joes have lost against St Benedict's. But
the big encounter between these two schools cannot be judged according
to form. As last year too the Joes went into the game as underdogs
and nearly pulled off the game.
This year the
Darley Road boys are led by third year player Deshan Bastianpillai
who has done a wonderful job this season coming in the number three
slot has three centuries and two half centuries to his credit. His
deputy third player Ranesh Perera is the only coloursman of the
side. A fine allrounder of whom much is expected in this big game.
player Tharindu Aiyawansa and fresher Dhanuka Hettiarachchi will
be expected to give them a good start. Both the players have scored
heavily this season. To follow them and boost the Joes score will
be Hashan Goonathileke a hard hitting batsman who has a 157 against
Wesley, Angelo Mathew who is turning out be a fine allrounder he
captained the Under 15 Sri Lanka team to Sharjah and was named the
player of the tournament, Rajeewa Weerasinghe another member of
the Under 15 Sri Lanka side, Shamal Warnakula, Sandun Dias and Prasanna
To give an early
breakthrough for the Joes it will be in the hands of Angelo Mathew
and Umesh Ruberu with Niroshan John to help them with his cutters.
Skipper Deshan, Rukshan Perera, Sandun Dias will support the pacies
with their spinning combination. Fourth year coloursman Nadhula
de S. Wijeyaratne will lead the Petes. He is one of the best bowlers
in the school circuit and a player with immense experience.
They have two
players who could be regarded as the best opening pair in Prajeev
Jansz and Dinesh Panditharatne to give them a good start.The Joes
are coached by Harsha de Silva while the Petes are coached by Bandula
de Silva. Along with these two both the teams would have finalised
their strategy in their approach to breaking the 24 year jinx.
match is a big match - M.A.P.
By Bernie Wijesekera
At present more schools have taken to the willow wielding sport
- unlike in the past. In its wake there are more big matches. But
has the game or its traditions showed any upward trend? Cricket
was first introduced in the meadows of England as a social sport
to bring about togetherness, understanding and fellowship.
Today its wings
have spread far and wide. Our former colonial masters - the Englishmen,
introduced two things on and off the field - the English language.
It's the main link for its economic development. It helps build
a bridge among all nations.
The other discipline - cricket which was started as a social sport
among the plantation fraternity. Later followed by rugby. Fellowship
and bonhomie prevailed among all sans trophies, among the aliens
and the locals played for the right reasons followed by a social
and a get-together.
was spread to the schools too - followed by a traditional big-match.
Today there are so many big matches apparently some of them marred
by ugly incidents and fisticuffs especially among the young old
boys. It attributes due to the lack of guidance not taught how to
take defeat in the correct spirit or face setbacks in latter life
whilst at school - but to win at all costs.
Some of the
so-called big matches haven't helped the very spirit of the game
but breeds hatred and enmity. The Principal of Wesley College M.A.P.
Fernando, was one of the fans watching the Royal-Wesley match at
Reid Avenue, along with Royal's Principal Lakshman Gomes. Mr. Fernando
was interviewed by the Sunday Times. When he was asked if there
is a big match for Wesley. No, he said and he went on to say that
every match is a big match.
games should be played to bring about understanding among the schoolboys
of the respective schools for the future betterment and build a
bridge for a healthy nation. Via sports we could bring about reconciliation,
he further said.
Wesley has not won the Sir (Dr.) Frank Gunasekera shield outright.
What has that got to do or the final outcome. The bond of friendship
is what matters in the end, among all schools rather than confining
it to a big match. Schoolboys at Wesley in the past and at present
are taught to play hard and clean.
for setbacks apparently if the umpires were found wanting. This
was evident in this match, too. Mr. Fernando is a keen observer
despite official commitments and has the time to watch a game. So
is Royal's Principal, Mr. Gomes. It helps eradicate any shortcomings.
Apparently it's not happening in some quarters and is the cause
for most of the unwanted problems on and off the field. No one is
indispensable. They have to play as a team. That's where the Wesley
strength lies, Mr. Fernando said.
It was evident
in the match against Royal last week. In the end for Wesley the
Royal game was another big match in their cricket calendar. They
believe in this saying. 'Interests are Permanent, but no Permanent
Enemies, on and off the field'.