|Thursday, 06 March 2003|
87th Battle of the Blues : Both teams ready to produce positive cricket
By S. M. Jiffrey Abdeen - Kandy Sports Correspondent
Both Trinity College and St. Anthony's College are determined to play positive cricket and look for a decision in their 87th 'Battle of the Blues' which will be played at Katugastota this Friday and Saturday with play commencing at 9.45 a.m. on both days.
A peep in to the records indicates that Trinity leads the series with 22 wins against 11 by St. Anthony's while the rest of the matches have been drawn. Trinity's last win came in 1986 under Thushara Weerasuriya at Katugastota and the Antonians last won in 1992 under Umesh de Alwis.
Trinity will be led by third year coloursman Clifford Fernando, an astute leader and though fielding an inexperienced side has ensured his team went through an unbeaten season. In addition to the fine leadership, team work has been the hallmark of their success. Playing top teams like St. Sebastians College, Moratuwa and Royal College away from home holding them to a draw in the heat of Colombo speaks volumes of their fighting qualities. Clifford Fernando an elegant bat himself has scored over 500 runs and is also a more than a useful medium pacer capable of dislodging threatening partnerships.
Chamira Punchihewa, a third year coloursman is the vice captain of the side and he has done yeoman service to the Lions in standing behind the stumps gobbling up more than 30 victims. He is also a stubborn middle order batsman. But there are two players who have done well in the latter half of the season and could deliver the goods for the Trinitians. Left handed opening bat Ishan Ratnayake who struck form late in the season became the first Trinitian to score a double century when he struck 211 against Kingswood and followed up with scores of 126 against St. Sebastians and 75 against Royal to score over 650 runs.
The other is 13 year little Sachith Pathirana - straight from the under 14 team and has performed above expectation in batting, bowling and fielding. though still to come up with a big score but has contributed his mite towards the side.
With around six years of school cricket in front of him, he is a player to watch. Sunil Fernando the coach who converted Muralitharan from a seamer to a spinner speaks highly of Sachith Pathirana. Trinitians have played 12 matches, won 3 on first innings, losing 6 on first innings and the rest have ended in 'No decisions'. Apart from the above, the Trinitians could depend for runs from the bats of Hasantha Mendis, Avanka Peiris, Madhuranga Munaweera, Sisitha Jayasinghe, Asiri Udumulla, and Mohammed Muneer.
Hasantha Mendis and Madhuranga Munaweera will spearhead Trinity's pace quintet followed by skipper Clifford Fernando, Avanka Peiris and Mohammed Muneer. The spin department will be well served by left arm spinner Sachith Pathirana, off spinner Charith Dumbarange, off spinner Asiri Udumulla and leg spinner Asiri Ariyaratne.
The team is coached by former Antonian cricket captain and coach of over 15 years H. M. Muthalib - a very high performer under whose guidance, Trinity's cricket is blossoming starting from 2002.
St. Anthony's College led by Nipuna Ratnayake, an attractive left hand opening bat, could have performed much better than their record show. They are a well balanced side with a glut of allrounders. He has scored 500 runs and is also an useful seam bowler. A good trier and with a little more patience could have aggregated more with the bat. Vice Captain Tyronne de Silva is easily one of the best allrounders in school cricket this season and has experience in playing Sara trophy cricket for Kandy CC. A hard hitting left hand bat has scored 920 runs and is likely to make use of this big occasion to reach the 1000 run mark for the season. He has scored 2 centuries and 5 fifties and has taken 40 wickets with his medium pacers.
Perhaps the find of the season is 17 year old Mohammed Rizlan who as a fresher started off on a promising note slamming centuries in his first two matches and todate has scored three centuries and missing another in the nineties and 5 fifties. He has scored 890 runs todate and has a chance of reaching the 1000 runs in the big match.
Antonians have this season played 15 matches, won 6 on first innings, lost an equal number on first innings. They lost to Royal by seven wickets while two matches have ended in 'No decisions'.
There is plenty of depth in the Antonian batting line up as Ashan Ariyaratne, Mohammed Ruzly, Priyantha Ekanayake, Priyana Withanage, Neville Edirisuriya, Mohammed Rikaz, Dhanushka Bandaranayake, Kasun Madiwela, Sajith Pinnaduwa, and Mohammed Shakeel are all capable bats.
Tyronne de Silva will spear-head the new ball attack with Priyantha Ekanayake with additional pace coming from Dhanushka Bandaranayake and Mohammed Rikaz. Off Spinner Ashan Ariyaratne has borne the brunt of the spin attack capturing over 50 wickets. The other spinners in the side are Sajith Pinnaduwa (leg spin), Mohammed Shakeel (off spin) and Chamara Perera (left arm spin). Utility player Mohammed Rizlan in addition to opening the side's batting is also the stumper of the side and could also bowl medium pacers if the necessity arises.
Former Kandy CC, St. Anthony's College and Air Force cricketer Gamini Debahapuwa after a stint of coaching at Kingswood College has come over to his alma mater to give back what he has received from the school. A dedicated coach and has done a tremendous job in moulding the team into a fighting outfit. A firm believer of positive cricket.
Trinity College (from) Clifford Fernando (Captain), Chamira Puncihewa (Vice Captain), Hasantha Mendis, Avanka Peiris, Sisitha Jayasinghe, Madhuranga Munaweera, Ishan Ratnayake, Sachith Pathirana, Mohammed Muneer, Asiri Udumulla, Charith Dumbarange, Asiri Ariyaratnem Sachithra Rajakuruna, Indika Ponnamperuma, Shevan Wickremasinghe, Madhusha Fernando, Dhammika Dissanayake, Dimithri Amaranayake, Manuel Kitnan, Lalith Halangoda, Dhammika Kulathunga, Amila Pathirana (Coach: H. M. Muthalib, MIC Major B. P. Wickremasuriya).
St. Anthony's College (from) Nupuna Ratnayake (Captain), Tyronne de Silva (Vice Captain), Mohammed Rizlan, Ashan Ariyaratne, Priyantha Ekanayake, Sajith Pinnaduwa, Mohammed Ruzly, Mohammed Shakeel, Neville Edirisuriya, Mohammed Rikaaz, Priyan Withanage, Dhanushka Bandaranayake, Kasun Madiwela, Sameera Weerabahu, Jude Fernando, Pramodth Fernando, Chamara Perera, Amal Ranasinghe, Prasanna Illangakoon, Chamara Wickremapala, Harshana Meddagoda, and Prasad Wickremapala. (Coach Gamini Dabahapuwa, MIC B. A. Udugama).
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