Two of the best educational institutions in the country will be celebrating 100 years of comradeship, and rivalry, when they face off at the Pallekele Stadium on March 10 and 11. Needless to say, the Sri Lankan Cricketing scene has been illuminated by the deeds of players from these two schools. Suffice it to mention [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Trinitians are ahead on almost all counts

The Centenary encounter

Two of the best educational institutions in the country will be celebrating 100 years of comradeship, and rivalry, when they face off at the Pallekele Stadium on March 10 and 11. Needless to say, the Sri Lankan Cricketing scene has been illuminated by the deeds of players from these two schools. Suffice it to mention two players who stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Muttiah Muralitharan, who represented the Anthonians from the late eighties to the early nineties, occupies a special place in Sri Lanka’s Cricketing history. The proud holder of the record for the highest number of wickets in Test cricket (800), he bamboozled and mesmerized the best international batsmen. By doing so, he was the architect of many test victories, notably the one at the Foster’s Oval in London when he took 16 wickets.

To some, the left handed Kumar Sangakkara has outstripped all others (Aravinda included) to lay claim to the title of Sri Lanka’s best batsman in the Test arena. The hundreds flowed off his broad blade, even double hundreds and a triple. All bowlers came alike to him and his record on the faster wickets abroad is quite outstanding. He has claimed, in all modesty, that he was only an average player in School. Trinity and Sri Lanka in particular must be grateful for such mediocrity,”

Coming to the present game, it must be said that the Trinitians are ahead on almost all counts. They have a thousand run man in the skipper Sanogeeth Shanmuganathan. They have seven hundreds as opposed to two by the Anthonians. The highest score for the season is the preserve of Sanogeeth and Suneva Jayasinghe, the Anthonian. The Asgiriya lads have won three games and lost twice. The Katugastota team has scored one win as against two losses. Naturally, the Lions are confident Coach Kavinda Jayasinghe says he’s sure of victory. With three players who have turned out for Sri Lankan Youth and Under-19 teams, Trinity is not short of talent. Sanogeeth (2 hundreds), Boyagoda (3), Jayasuriya and Percival (One each), all contribute to make it a strong batting unit. Sanogeeth likes to blaze away, while Boyagoda is a more cultured stroke-player. Jayasuriya and Percival also have three and two fifties, respectively.

Banugoban, a leg spinner, has a top score of 80. Stumper Poorna Wanasekera has made two fifties. Chanuka Bandara a late entrant to the team, has been particularly impressive, making 72 (St. Joseph’s) and forties against St. Sebastian’s, Royal and Zahira.

Left arm pacie Thisam Dilshan has been a tad disappointing, making allowance for the fact that he missed some matches. He turned the Rajan batting inside out with a sensational spell of 8/30. He has not been half as productive later on.

Skipper Sanogeeth, who bowls quickish left arm spin, has risen to the occasion magnificently. Two bags of 6 wickets and 5 wickets and also 2 of four proclaim his effectiveness. Not to be outdone, Vimukthi Nethumal, another left armor has kept up the pressure and has captured over sixty wickets. His best effort was a 6-85 against the Peterits.

The rest of the bowling comprises Boyagoda and Shoaib (off spin) Banugoban (leg spin) and Percival (medium pace).

For the Anthonian batsmen, it will be a test of temperament and staying power. Lately, they have been dismissed for some moderate scores, and this could lead to a drop in confidence.

Fifth year player Mohamed Alfer leads the Anthonians. As a batsman, he is up there with the best in Kandy. His shots are crisp and he times the ball well. After making a top score of 132 in the match against S. Thomas’ Matara. His fifties have come at the expense of Kingswood, St. John’s Jaffna, Karandeniya MV, Ananda and St. Joseph’s.

After has two other strings to his bow. Besides being the stumper, he also bowls medium pace when the situation demands it.

Opener Sunera Jayasinghe made a good 161 against Carey. He also made a capital 86 in the Royal game. He is a player who digs in and goes for the long haul. Theeksha Gunasingha is an attacking left hander. He made 60 against Royal, but probably, his knocks of 39 not out and 40 against Vidyartha (in a losing cause) were more important. Anthonians haven’t seen the best of him.

With three half centuries (82, 51, 56) and forties against Kingswood, opener Mohamed Absar has certainly contributed. He is an aggressive player and if he takes on the Trinity bowlers, interesting times will be in the offing.

Nipun Ashok, Dion Stouter, Janidu Himsara and Gihan Achintha could also provide some runs. Sateesh Wickremarachchi, who was ill for much of the season, made a promising come-back with bat and ball against the Benedictines.

Sandaruwan Dharmaratne, a prolific left arm spinner, makes up about fifty per cent of the attack. He has two 7 wicket efforts, one of six, another of five, and four of four. I for one, would welcome more flight and variation in his bowling. But there is no doubt that his methods have worked.

Big made Virajitha Jayasinghe opens the attack and bowls at a fair pace. Not a big wicket – taker, he chips in with two or three consistently. Janidu Himsara is the other pacie in the team.

Right arm leggie Gihan Achintha, who is playing in his first year, is a bowler for the future. He is capable of chipping in with a couple of wickets. All in all, the Anthonian bowling appears a bit slim.

Trinity leads the series with 23 wins to the 12 by St. Anthony’s. 64 games have ended in draws. The last Anthonian victory came in 1992. Trinity won in 2013.

Trinity (From): Sanogeeth Shanmuganathan (Capt), Hasitha Boyagoda, Thisaru Dilshan, Hashintha Jayasuriya, Trevon Percival, Thiagaraja Bhanugoban, Poorna Wanasekera, Chanuka Bandara, Vimukthi Nethumal, Shoaib Salahudeen, Avishka Senadheera, Bhatiya Dissanaike, Himanga Suriyampola, Ruvin Peiris, Narendranath Ashok Kumar, Abishek Anandakumar, Kalana de Zoysa.

Officials: Kavinda Jayasuriya (Coach), Dhammika Kulatunga (MIC)

St. Anthony’s (From): Mohamed Alfer (Capt) Sunera Jayasinghe, Virajitha Jayasinghe, Theeksha Gunasinghe, Dion Stouter, Sandaruwan Dharmaratne, Janidu Himsara, Sateesh Wickremaarachchi, Nipun Ashok, Mohamed Absar, Mohamed Kameel, Gihan Achintha, Tamashana Abeykoon, Mohmed Alawi, Prabath Sachin, Kevin Dhananjan, Tharindu Hewage.

Officials: Sampath Perera (Coach), Lenin Jayasinghe (MIC)

St. Anthony's


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