Categorized | Sports

80th Battle of the Saints Encounter at P. Saravanamuttu Oval

Posted on 06 March 2014 by admin

Nothing much to separate Joes and Petes
March 6, 2014, 10:14 pm

by Reemus Fernando

Prowess of two Sri Lanka Under-19 players in the batting department of St. Joseph’s College and aggressive top order batting of St. Peter’s College are among special features to watch when the arch rivals meet for the 80th time in the Battle of the Saints Big Match starting today at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.

There is nothing much to separate the two unbeaten teams after the two Sri Lanka Under-19 players Sadeera Samarawickrama and Priyamal Perera returned to reinforce Joes batting line up which looked slightly weaker than that of Petes’ in their absence.

Samarawickrama and Perera were the most successful batsmen for Sri Lanka Under-19 during the recently concluded ICC Youth World Cup. After doing well against strong bowling attacks of England, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and others in the Youth World Cup, it will be interesting to watch whether they could assist skipper Dylan Fernandopulle strive for a victory which has not come their way since Ruwantha Fernandopulle’s team won it in 2008.

Samarawickrama was the leading run scorer for Sri Lanka Under-19 during the Youth World Cup and the Joes who enjoyed his century in the last Big Match will be looking forward to a special treat from him this time as well.

Perera often helped Sri Lanka Under-19 come out from difficult situations with his sensible batting but after being reported for suspect bowling action during the ICC event, will the Joe-Pete fans be able to witness his off spinners? His coach Janaka Deegodagamage is confident that there is nothing wrong with his action and is not ‘hesitating to bowl’ his key spinner in the Battle of the Blues.

There were no Peterites in the Sri Lanka Under-19 World Cup team but the annual Big match provides an opportunity for number of such potential players to showcase their prowess.

Generally it had been the spinners who had dominated this series during the recent past. If the trend continues, left-arm spinner Sahan Nanayakkara is the player to put your money on in the Petes’ team, while leg-spinner Aravinda Akurugoda and off spinner Hashindra Perera are likely to dominate Joes’ bowling if they decide to keep Priyamal out of the attack.

In the Petes’ formidable batting line up Dineth Thimodya is the batsman to watch. The left-hander has passed the 1000 runs milestone and has been aggressive against many an opponent this season.

Skipper Kavinda de Tissera (over 800 runs), Janith Liyanage (over 800 runs) and Hashan Wanasekara (over 500 runs) are the others who have excelled this season. In the bowling department, Nanayakkara (over 80 wickets) will have the support of Thaneesha Weerakoon and Chemila Obeysekara.

Joes batting largely revolved around skipper Dylan Fernandopulle this season. He is the only batsmen to top 600 runs for them with Samarawickrama and Priyamal being not available for most of the season. Duran de Alwis and Pathum Madusanka are the others to have impressed in the batting department.

Season performances:

St. Joseph’s played 16 matches, registered outright victories against D.S. Senanayake College, Maris Stella College and St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota and remained unbeaten in other matches.

St. Peter’s played 17 matches and recorded outright victories against De Mazenod College, Kandana and Isipatana College, while remaining unbeaten in other encounters.

The series tally stands at 12-9 in favour of Joes. St. Peter’s are the holders of the Rev. Fr. Maurice Legoc (OMI) Trophy having won it under the captaincy of Shehan Fernando in 2012.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi) – Courtesy” The Island

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