Can Thurstan or Isipathana end 20 winless year jinx? | Daily News


56th Battle of the Brothers cricket encounter at SSC from today

Can Thurstan or Isipathana end 20 winless year jinx?

Isipathana skipper Madushika Samarawickrama and Thurstan captain Sandaru Dias (2nd and 3rd from left) pose with their school principals Premasiri Epa (Isipathana) and Lakshman Dias (Thurstan) and the Blackham Wijewardene Memorial Trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the match. (Picture by Rukmal Gamage)
Isipathana skipper Madushika Samarawickrama and Thurstan captain Sandaru Dias (2nd and 3rd from left) pose with their school principals Premasiri Epa (Isipathana) and Lakshman Dias (Thurstan) and the Blackham Wijewardene Memorial Trophy that will be award

The 56th Battle of the Brothers schools cricket encounter ushers in the start of a series of Big Matches that will be the focus for the next two months or so and one hopes the Thurstan-Isipathana clash for the Blackham Wijewardene Memorial Trophy starting at the SSC today will end in a win for one of the sides as this encounter has not produced a winning result for the past two decades.

Let this first Big Match of the school season set a winning trend for the rest of the matches to follow.

Coaches of both sides must understand that winning and losing is part and parcel of cricket and there is no shame in losing. Why there are so many draws in these Big Matches is that the coaches want to safeguard their positions and thus are quite content with a draw which on the longer run is detrimental to the game.

The continuous series of drawn matches only produces a negative mind on the players when they come out to play in the Big Match and it is the duty of the coaches to ensure that the game is played hard with a positive frame of mind within the rules to ensure that a win is the ultimate result.

Going on current form Thurstan College are well-equipped to push for a win than there traditional rivals and they should take the initiative from the outset and go for it. Their last win was many moons ago in 1992 under the captaincy of Mackenzie Perera.

One hopes they will put an all effort to break the 27-year winless hoodoo and produce a win.

Thurstan also leads the series with five wins as against four by Isipathana with the rest ending in draws. No outright result has been recorded by either side since 1999 when Isipathana won when Krishantha Jayawardena was the captain.

In the history of “Battle of the Brothers” initiated in 1964, two sides share the records of the big match with Isipathana’s debutant Saman Nishantha holding the best individual score of 150 not out in 2002 while the best bowling figures is by Thurstan’s Jayajeewa Karunaratne who took 7 for 28 in 1992 in their last win.

The highest score of the series is 331 for 9 declared made by Thurstan in 2012 and the lowest 56 by Isipathana way back in 1968.

Third year coloursmen and left arm spinner Sandaru Dias leads Thurstan who have played 14 matches and have five outright wins against St. Anthony’s Wattala, Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya, St. Mary’s Kegalle, St. Anne’s Kurunegala and St. Thomas’ Matara. They also have three first innings wins.

Isipathana is captained by Madushika Samarawickrama and have played 13 matches this season with a solitary outright win against Lumbini College, Colombo and have recorded four first innings wins while losing three matches outright to Mahinda College Galle, Prince of Wales Moratuwa and Maliyadeva Kurunegala.

Thurstan will rely on key players Bavath Jayasinghe who has scored over 450 runs inclusive of two centuries against St. Mary’s and St. Anthony’s along with last year’s big match centurion Jayavihan Mahavithana (400 runs), Yohan Liyanage (350) and Ranesh Silva (350).

The Thurstan bowling will revolve around skipper Sandaru Dias who has claimed 60 wickets while his deputy and leading wicket-taker left arm leg spinner Ayesh Harshana with 70 wickets has a big responsibility on their shoulders. Sandaru will be looking forward for support from Bawantha Jayasinghe, Shalaka Bandara and Yohan Liyanage to curtail the opponents to a low score.

Isipathana will depend heavily on all-rounder Ravindu Ratnayake who has made 750 runs with a top score of 113 against Lumbini and has has five half centuries under his belt. He has also claimed 40 wickets with a best of 5 for 29.

Leshan Amarasinghe who has scored 350 runs will play a major role as vice-captain and wicket-keeper. He has completed two fifties and his highest is 72 against Kingswood College, Kandy.

Thevindu Dickwella and Ashen Gunawardena has been the backbone of Isipathana’s batting line with 476 and 457 runs respectively while Savindu Uthsara, Kaliq Amath and skipper Madushika Sandaruwan have all passed the 200-run mark and are expected to chip in with their useful contributions.

Isipathana’s bowling is in the hands of spinners Madushika Samarawickrama (60) who has best of 6 for 14, Ravindu Ratnayake (30), Savindu Uthsara (26), Thevindu Dickwella (20), Dinath Dissanayake (16) and Kaliq Amath (15).

The encounter will be played with the two teams batting 60 overs in the first innings which was introduced last year with the aim of producing a positive result. With this new set up both teams are looking this year for a result to break the 20-year winless hoodoo.

In parallel to the Big Match the 39th Fifty-over cricket match for the W.A. de Silva Kulasekara Memorial Trophy will be worked off at the P. Sara Oval on March 3. Thurstan leads the tally with 20 wins to Isipathana’s 17.

The 12th T20 match for the Priya Paranavithana Challenge Trophy will be played at the Colts grounds on March 10. Thurstan have won on seven occasions and Isipathana three.


THURSTAN COLLEGE: Sandaru Dias (captain), Ayesh Harshana (vice-captain), Bavantha Jayasinghe, Yohan Liyanage, Ranesh Silva, Jayavihan Mahavithana, Shalaka Bandara, Pruthuvi Tharukshaya, Sanath Nandina, Avishka Kaushalya, Anju Karunanayake, Prasanna Pushpakumara, Nimesh Perera, Rashika Hiripitiya, Udith Wickramaarachchi, Dhasun Jayawardana, Nulaksha Malith.

ISIPATHANA COLLEGE: K.A. Madushika Sandaruwan (captain), Leshan Amarasinghe (vice-captain), Kaliq Amath, Dinath Dissanayake, Thevindu Dickwella, Ashen Gunawardane, Eshan Fernando, Savindu Wickramasinghe, Saveen Dammalage, Ravindu Ratnayake, Chalana Silva, D. Lomitha Ravindith, Mandeepa Gunasekara, M. Amman Thaha, Yasiru Kasthuruarachchi, T.P. Isuru Sandamal.

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