ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 40
Kandy Times

Decision unlikely this year too - 101st Kingswood Dharmaraja encounter

By Aubrey Kuruppu

Breaking a 48 year old jinx will be uppermost in the mind of Kingswood skipper Asiri Amerasinghe when the 101st Dharmaraja – Kingswood Big Match gets underway at the Asgiriya International Stadium on the 30th and 31st of March.

1958 is a way long time back and that is when Maurice Fernando (the Schoolboy Cricketer of that year) led his team to victory over the Rajans in the Big Match at the now unfashionable Police ground. Ever since, Kingswood captains have pursued the “Holy Grail” but have failed in their quest. The failed captains also include this year’s coach Priyantha Wickremasuriya.

Kingswood, like Dharmaraja, goes into this match unbeaten. But, whereas the lads from Randles Hill have only beaten a modest St. Thomas’ Matale outfit, the Lake View boys have wins over Dharmapala and the high –profile Antonians.

Skipper Amerasinghe, who leads the way with his powerful batting, has topped the 600 run mark and has a century and three fifties to his credit. His is the key wicket for the Rajans to get. Prasad Senaratne is the pick of the all rounders with over 500 runs and 45 wickets. Medium pacie Jayasuriya and off spinner have both taken 30 wickets.

The latter has been troubled by a shoulder injury. Vice captain and left arm spinner Anuradha Hettige has recovered from injury and will play in the important clash.

Left hander Krishan Silva has improved on last year’s performance. However, frustratingly he has not gone past three figures after four years of senior cricket. Abeykoon opens the attack with Jayasuriya while young leg spinner Tharaka Galearachchi, though expensive, could come up with a wicket or two. Migara Bandaranaike’s work behind the stumps has been adequate, but he has made good contributions in front of them.

Rukshan Suriyaarachchi, the Dharmaraja captain, has had quite a successful season with a near 500 run total, while his off breaks have fetched him nearly 40 wickets. Suriyaarachchi will have happy memories of a hundred and five wickets in last year’s match. Vice captain Bhuvaneka Ekanayake work behind the stumps has in no way affected his prowess with the bat.

Left hander Chandimal Ratnayake is the leading scorer for the Rajans with 550 plus runs. He is a centurion, to boot. Ratnayake also opens the bowling but has not enjoyed any conspicuous success. Tharindu Perera, a left arm spinner, is the focal point of the attack. There is more spin from Weerasuriya and Samitha Rajapakse.

Upesh Wijesiri, last year’s captain, has been somewhat disappointing and has lacked consistency. Runs can also be expected from Batangala, Balasuriya and Ambagaspitiya.

A comparison of the teams reveals that both teams have good batting (with the Rajans batting runs slightly deeper). However the bowling of both teams leaves a bit to be desired. This inability to take twenty wickets indicates another drawn game.

Dharmaraja (from) Rukshan Suriyaarachchi (Capt.) Bhuvaneka Ekanayake, Tharindu Perera, Chandimal Ratnayake, Upesh Wijesiri, Thilina Batangala, Chamila Ambagaspitiya, Samitha Rajapakse, T.D. Balasuriya, R.B. Weerasuriya, Ramesh Bandara, Prasad Amerakoon, Sameera Ranatunga, Yohan Seneviratne, Pubudu Deniyewatte

(Coach – Senaka Dissanaike).

Kingswood (from) Asiri Amerasinghe (Capt.), Anuradha Hettige, Nirmal Jayasuriya, Prasad Seneviratne, Chalitha Dharmaprema, Krishan Silva, Migara Bandaranaike, Sajith Atulugama, Sameera Wijesinghe, Ashan Seneviratne, Tharaka Galearachchi, Chathura Kumarasiri, Madawa Maduranga, Chandima Abeykoon, Amila Kangaraarachchi (Coach – Priyantha Wickremasuriya).

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.