Sri Lanka Under-19 player Lasith Lakshan leading St. Thomas’ College Matara to the 115th Big Match is determined to break Grecian Liyanage’s record of 207 not out registered at the 82nd encounter as the skipper against traditional rivals St. Servatius College. The encounter, dubbed as the Battle of the Blues of the South will be [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

St. Thomas’ have the edge over St. Servatius


Sri Lanka Under-19 player Lasith Lakshan leading St. Thomas’ College Matara to the 115th Big Match is determined to break Grecian Liyanage’s record of 207 not out registered at the 82nd encounter as the skipper against traditional rivals St. Servatius College. The encounter, dubbed as the Battle of the Blues of the South will be played from March 20 to 22 at the Uyanwatte Stadium in Matara.

St. Servatius College first XI (Front row from left): Lasitha Suwandarathna (Head Coach), Chanuka Dilshan, Ramesh Nimantha, Nayananada de Silva (master-in-charge), Lochana Mohotti (Captain), Munidasa Rathnasekera (Captain), Thushan Eranga (Vice Captain), H.G.D.N. Amarathunga (Vice Principal), Kavindu Umesh, Ashen Deemantha, ChanakaKomasaru (Assistant Coach) (Middle row from left): Chamil Dhananjaya, Thilan Prasanna, Sandaru Nethmina, Yuran Nimesh, Mohamed Shihan, Rajantha Chandula, Isuru Daladawaththa, Pramod Weerasekera, Charith Harshana, Nalin Madusha, Saviru Dhananjaya, Pasan Nimantha, Sandeepa Chamara. (Back row from left): Jayaru Sadathana, Nalindu Thushan, Pubudu Punsara, Chalana Anuradha, Dinutha Sandeepa

The knock of Liyanage is the highest individual score in the series and has been the ground record at Uyanwatta since 1982. Therefore it is most likely that the Thomians will bat first if they win the toss in the three-day encounter which starts next Friday and it would be up to the Servatian bowlers to safeguard Grecian’s batting record.

The Big Match in Matara is the third oldest in the island and is said to have been played continuously since 1900. This encounter has been known as the Battle of Ruhuna and Battle of Nilwala the latter being the most appropriate. St. Thomas’ lead the series with 32 wins with Tharaka Dushantha leading the Thomians to victory in 2007 while St. Servatius have won 27 games with Nimal Munaweera leading the Servatians to their last win in 1971.

Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee and Member of Parliament Sanath Jayasuriya, who led the St. Servatius team in 1988, is the most illustrious cricketer to have played in the series while Ruchira Palliyaguru, who led the Servatians in 1986, is an umpire who has been selected to stand in the ongoing ICC World Cup.

Having watched the two teams perform on the field this season the Thomians hold the edge in this three-day encounter as they have shown the much needed team work and grit that was not seen in their opponents. Winning the toss would fulfill the aspirations of the Thomians who host this year’s encounter.

St. Servatius College is the only school in Matara that plays in the elite Division I of the All-Island Schools Cricket Tournament and have secured the 18th place with 169.89 points. Of the 16 matches played in the tournament they have registered outright wins against St. Sylvester’s College Kandy, Bandarnayake College Gampaha, Holy Cross College Kalutara, Revatha College Balapitiya and won first innings against Moratu Vidyalaya and GurukulaVidyalaya. The Servatians lost the first innings to Zahira College, Lumbini College, Mahanama College, Maris Stella College, Richmond College, Mahinda College and St. Aloysius’ College Galle and lost outright to St. Benedict’s College and Division I champs Trinity College. A decision was not reached in the rain-hampered game against Isipathana College which was played at Sooriyawewa.

Fourth-year coloursman Lochana Mohotti leads the St. Servatius team in this year’s game. Lochana is a hard hitting right-hand batsman and will open the batting as well as the bowling for his team. He is ably supported by Vice Captain Thushan Eranga, a fourth year coloursman. Thushan is a left-hand batsman who occupies the No.3 slot and has scored more than 400 runs this season. He bowls right-arm off-spin and has been among the wickets in the few games he bowled.

Fourth year coloursman Ashen Deemantha is an allround player. He bowls right-arm off-spin and has captured 64 wickets this season including five, five wicket hauls in an innings. Right-hand batsman Ramesh Nimantha has scored 850 runs this season with three tons against Holy Cross College (136), St Sylvester’s (112) and St. Aloysius (102) and three half tons. He bowls right-arm off-spin and has captured 20 wickets with a best of 5/37 against St. Benedict’s College. Ramesh is a fourth year coloursman.

St. Thomas’ College first XI (Front row from left): Shashni Ahamed, Nevindu Udesh, Dilum Krishan, Charith Palliyage (Head Coach), K.H.C. Pradeep (master-in-charge), Lasuth Lakshan (Captain), W.B. Piyathissa (Principal), Rusiru Akshaya (Vice Captain), J. Mathnagadeera (Deputy Principal), Dumindu Hewapathirana (Assistant Coach), Vidath Jayanidu, Osanda Chanupathi, Nimantha Kavishwara (Back row from left): Tharusha Kavindya, Ishan Anupriya, Akila Thuwanka, Hasitha Suneth, Dilip Tharaka, Buddhi Nipun, Lahiru Gimhan, Raminda Pravinath, Hashin Dilman, Sanuth Pramuditha, Nishan Tharinda, Praveen Madushan, Prince Dalugoda, Ravindu Chathurtha, Shehan Prabashwara, Nipun Achalanka, Mihisal Amodore

Left-arm leg-spin bowler Chanuka Dilshan is a fourth year coloursman. Chanuka, who has partially lost the use of his right-hand due to a motor accident, has 60 wickets to his credit including ten wicket hauls in the games against St. Sylvester’s College and Bandarnayake College Gampaha. Fourth-year coloursman Kavindu Umesh is an allrounder who has been given the responsibility to keep wickets this season. He has had 30 victims behind the stumps and scored more than 550 runs. Allround player Rajantha Chandula is a third-year coloursman, who bats right-hand and bowls right-arm medium pace. Thilan Prasantha shares the new ball with skipper Lochana and is a second year coloursman. Yuran Nimesh is also second year coloursman who can open the batting and keep wickets if called upon to do so. Saviru Dhananjaya, Chamil Dhananjaya and Sandaru Nethmina are second year players who may be selected to the final XI.

First-year coloursman Pramod Weerasekera is a hard hitting left-hand batsman and bowls right-arm-fast. Right-hand batsman Mohamed Shihan is a first-year coloursman and capable of opening the innings while Nalin Madusha and Charith Harshana are freshers. Lasitha Saluka Suwandarathna is the head coach at St. Servatius for the second consecutive year while Chanaka Komasaru is his assistant. Nayananda de Silva has been appointed as the master-in-charge of the Servatian first XI for this game.

St. Thomas’ College plays in Division II of the Schools Cricket Tournament and were placed fifth with 234.17 points. Of the 16 encounters played, they registered outright wins against Sasthrananda College Dehiwela, Kalutara Vidyalaya, St. Thomas’ College Matale, Piliyandala Central College, St. Patrick’s College Jaffna, Sri Devananda College Ambalangoda and Rahula College Matara and won on first innings against Pagnananda College Raddoluwa, Debarawewa National School, Karandeniya Central College, St. John’s College Nugegoda, Vidyaloka College Galle and Vidyartha College Kandy. The Thomians lost to Devapathiraja College Rathgama and Richmond College Galle. A result was not reached in the game against Kingswood College Kandy due to rain.

Allround player Lasith Lakshan who is a member of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team leads the Thomians in the 115th Battle of the Blues. Lasith, a hard hitting right-hand batsman, has scored 811 runs with three tons and four half tons in the 13 games he played. He bowls right-arm off-spin and has captured 34 wickets this season. Lasith is a fifth year coloursman.

Fourth-year coloursman Rusiru Akshaya will keep wickets at this years encounter and is the Vice Captain of the side. He has figured in 28 dismissals behind the stumps this season and has 357 runs including two half tons to his credit. Rusiru is a right-hand middle-order batsman. Nevindu Udesh, a fourth-year coloursman, was the Vice Captain of the side last season. He is a right-hand batsman who has scored 547 runs with two centuries and a fifty this season. Nevindu bowls right-arm leg-spin and has captured 16 wickets and has taken an equal number of catches.

Allrounder Vidath Jayanidu is a fourth year coloursman. He is a left-hand batsman and bowls right-arm off-spin and is looked upon to break partnerships. Osanda Chamupathi is an allrounder and a second year coloursman. He is a right-hand middle-order batsman and bowls right-arm medium pace.
Dilum Krishan opens the batting as well as the bowling for the Thomians. A left-hand batsman, he has 379 runs to his credit and has captured 75 wickets including seven five-wicket hauls and a match bag of ten and over on two occasions. His best figure was the match bag of 12 for 63 against Rahula. Right-hand batsman Shashni Ahamed is a second-year coloursman and a safe fielder. Prince Dalugoda is a left-hand middle-order batsman who has the unique ability to bowl with both arms. Prince is a second year coloursman.

Nimantha Kavishwara, who shares the new ball with Dilum, is a right-hand batsman. Nimantha, a second-year coloursman has captured 32 wickets and scored 230 runs this season. Nimantha has the ability to swing the ball and may be among the early wickets at this encounter. Allround player Dileep Tharaka nicknamed the ‘Murali Clone’ by a touring New Zealand school team has captured 36 wickets this season. Dileep bowls right-arm off-spin and can spin the ball the other way with ease. He is a right-hand batsman and has scored 345 runs with two half tons at this year’s two day tournament. First-year coloursman Kasun Pramuditha is an allrounder who bats right hand and bowls right-arm medium fast. Left-hand batsman Tharusha Kavindya is a first year coloursman. Allround player Akila Thiwanka is a right-hand batsman and bowls left-arm leg spin. Right-hand batsman Hashin Dilman de Silva is a first-year coloursman and bowls right-arm off-spin. Nipun Achalanka is a hard hitting opening batsman and can also keep wickets if called upon to do so. The Servatians may be troubled by the left-arm leg-spin of first year coloursman Praveen Madushan, who has captured 26 wickets, majority of which have been leg before decisions in the nine games he played.

Freshers, Raminda Pravinath, Hasitha Suneth, Ushan Anupriya, Lahiru Gimhan, Shehan Prabashwara, Nishad Tharinda, Nipun Lakmal, Ravindu Chathurtha and Mihisal Amodore are strength to the Thomian team. Charith Sanjeewa Palliyage is head coach of the St. Thomas’ team and has Dumindu Hewapathirana as his deputy. K.H.C. Pradeep is the master-in-charge of the team.

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