Ananda Vs Nalanda 76th encounter
Udawatte-Rupasinghe - an absorbing battle of wits
In spite being played on a low key the 76th Battle of the Maroons will centre round two individuals from either school. After some time the two schools have produced two outstanding cricketers. One a batsman in Ananda skipper Mahela Udawatte who already has five 'tons' in his pocket and the other a match winning right arm leg spinner in Nalanda's young Gihan Rupasinghe who already has taken over 90 wickets.

So these two individuals should give a reason enough for all young and old students to throng to the Sinhalese Sports Club Grounds next weekend. This year's contest will be played on a low key due to the tsunami disaster where an old Anandian skipper Sujeewa Kamalasooriya became a victim of the national tragedy. Both teams for this year's match have in their fold number of talented young prospects for the future.

Ananda captain Mahela Udawatte has scored 1070 runs inclusive of five 100s - The lefthander bats with poise and grace at No. 3. made 154 vs. Dharmasoka, 150 n.o., Vs St. Benedict's, 100 vs Dharmaraja, 130 vs Prince of Wales, and 136 not out vs Richmond.

Ananda played 14 matches and won five games outright against Dharmasoka, Wesley, St. Benedict's, Trinity and Sri Rahula, Kandy. The batting goes down the line with Vice captain Achela Ranasinghe. Ranasinghe todate has captured 76 wickets. He is a left arm spinner and capable middle order bat.

Paceman Charith Jayaweera is quite lively with the new ball and has 55 scalps. But Ananda relies much on spin. Nalanda led by Yasas Hewawitharne leads a side that has tremendous batting depth. The team has the calmness and the cool to bat under pressure. This was proved against Royal at Reid Avenue. After being 4 for 8 at one stage recovered to get over 300 plus, thanks to a belligerent 174 coming from Tarindu Athenayake.

This season Nalanda has produced one of the best prospects for the future. Gihan Rupasinghe - the bowling allrounder. He could win a match on his own. 92 wickets as a wily "leggie" and 730 runs todate speaks well for his consistency. Another batting allrounder opener Sasithra Serasinghe already has played for the junior national team. He opens batting. He has notched three 'tons' against Rahula Matara 115, Richmond 110 and 108 against Dharmapala. He has captured 40 wickets with his "off-spinners".

Nalanda has played 15 games. Won three outright against Lumbini MV, Richmond and Isipatana. A very good fielding side they also possess a varied attack. Paceman Kariyakarawana has bagged 39 wickets. U.S.C Perera, the softspoken coach who took over from Jayantha Seneviratne has done an excellent job. His words has paid dividends. Perera, said he was confident that the fans will enjoy two days of exciting cricket as both teams are evenly matched.

The teams:
Ananda - Mahela Udawatte (capt), Pradeep Boteju, Amal Athulathmudali, Thilina Kumanasinghe, Vishva Wijesuriya, Ranganath Wijetunga, Chathura Herath, Charith Jayaweera, Gayan Rupasinghe, Achela Ranasinghe, Malith Gunatilleke.

Nalanda - (from) Yasas Hewawitharne (Capt.), L. Wickremasinghe, S. Serasinghe, Gihan Rupasinghe, Tarindu Athenayake, M. Warnapura, Ashan Priyanga, Saneema Abeysinghe, M. Weerasinghe, P. Kariyapperuma, S. Pathirana, M. Aponsu. -BW


Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.