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Kandy has served cricket well

Cricket was played in the Kandy District about 1863, mainly in the Knuckles/Rangala areas and Kandy town had the Kandy Dancing, Boating, and Rowing Club. In 1896 this club became Kandy Sports club.

The first unofficial test in Ceylon was played at Bogambara Grounds in 1889. The exclusive European Kandy Sports Club invited locals to play from 1920. In 1914 and 1916's overseas teams played at Bogambara and Trinity College Grounds Asgiriya and in 1935 an Indian University Occasionals team met Up-Country.

The revival of Kandy District Cricket took place on August 16, 1946 with Dr. V.H.L. Anthonisz as Secretary and Col. Gordon Pyper President. Shortly after the Central Province Cricket Association was formed with Dr. V.H.L. Anthonisz as President. He offered the 'Dr. V.H.L Anthoniez' shield for competition amongst Clubs in the Kandy District.

The teams that participated were Kandy Sports Club, University Scheme SC, Kandy YMCA, Kandy Young Men's Buddhist Association SC. The first tournament was won by Kandy Sports Club led by Francis Amerasinghe. In 1947 Central Province Cricket Association participated in the Zonal Tournament conducted by the Ceylon Cricket Association.

The Kandy District team was styled Central Zone and led by Phillip Bultjens. These were two day matches. Dr. V.H.L. Anthonisz did much for Kandy Sports specially cricket and football. Dr. Anthonisz was honorary surgeon to the Governor. ADC to the Governor, Officer Commanding the Ceylon Medical Crops of the Ceylon Defence Force. First Ceylonese Secretary of the Kandy Sports Club, Vice Patron of the Kandy Association Football League and later President of Kandy Sports Club and Central Province Cricket Association.

Central Province Cricket Association hosted the 1st Commonwealth Team in 1950, 2nd Commonwealth Team in 1951, MCC in 1952, All India in 1956, Pakistan 1964, Hyderabad Blues 1966, State Bank of India 1967, MCC 1969, Australia 1969, MCC 1973, India 1974 and Pakistan 1976 played three matches against Board Presidents XI, while Joe Listers Team played a two day match against the Government Services CA at the Campus Grounds Peradeniya.

This match was hosted by the Government Services CA. All the matches from 1950 to 1976 except the two matches mentioned were limited over matches and the rest were two day games up to gaining Test status in 1981. The Karachchi Schools Cricket team led by Khalid Weir visited Ceylon in 1954 and in the match against Trinity College, Prince Aslam Khan a promising left arm bowler who had some amassing tour performances, took 5 for 24 at Asgiriya including a hat-trick, which were of M Ratwatte, R. Aluwihare and W. Wanduragala.

Some highlights of the other matches in brief - In 1950 game Wally Landon scored 96 with six sixes and two fours, Frank Worrell 60 put on 113 runs for the 4th wicket. The Commonwealth players hit 16 sixes in all. The Australians in this team were Lagdon, Tribe, Freer and in 1951 Leslie Ames the Manager scored 170 runs. He went from `100 to 150 in 15 minutes. In successive overs he hit 20, 18 and 18. Poor fielding by the local players saw about 12 easy catches being dropped. Ames and Sutcliffe put 136 runs for the fourth wicket of which Ames made 117. In all Ames hit five sixes and 22 fours and the visitors were able to score 403 runs in 305 minutes.

The Australians in the team were Bruce Dooland and Ken Grieves. For the Indians in 1956 Gulam Ahamed the off spinner took 11 for 17 runs. On this occasion Kandy spectators witnessed a different kind of procession in the month of November. Central Province CA were in and out for 36 in just 45 minutes and 69 in 95 minutes. In this game G.S. Ramchand scored 100 for All India.

In 1952 Tom Graveny scored a graceful 102, T.B. Werapitiya top socked 57 and 21, in the two innings. For Pakistan, Gulam Ahamed Abbas 73, Abdul Kadir 73 batted well and Intikhab Alam virtually repeated Gulam Ahmed's feat. Intikhab took 7 for 52 and 5 for 76. India won by an innings and Pakistan won by 7 wickets. Next Hyderabad Blues won a good victory after Central Province CA had scored 303 runs in 1967. The victory was due to fine innings by M.L. Jasuintha 110 and A.A. Baig 114 these two put on 196 runs for the 4th wicket. The State Bank of India match in 1968 was abandoned due to rain. R.M. Morrells 116 runs against Hyderabad Blues in 1967 was the only century by a local player at that time. The best CPVCA partnership in these nine games was 92 runs for the 5th wicket by T.B. Werapitiya 48 and P.E. Pulet 64 vs. the 2nd Commonwealth team in 1951.

The 1969 game against MCC was a limited over one in which MCC won easily.

Going in CPCA were 66 for 6 S. Rajaratnam hit Robin Hobbs for five sixes in successive scoring strokes. 50 runs in 36 minutes included four sixes and three fours With Ajith Gannoruwa 31, they added 72 runs for the seven wicket.

This effort only delayed the MCC victory. MCC scored 246 in 50 overs. Bill Lawry's Australians played a game at the end of the same year. Heavy rain overnight delayed the start. Hilary Abeyratne and his ground staff produced a playable wicket in spite of the rain. The Australians won easily scoring 261 for 5 and CPCA made to 72 in two hours due to J.W. Gleeson 4 for 6. The MCC led by Tony Lewis also won the limited over game in 1973 comfortably. Tony Greg scored 63, D. Amiss and M.H. Dennis scored 50 each. The home team made 107. The tally shows all nine matches lost by CPCA prior to 1981.

One game Government Services XI against Joe Alister XI bas drawn. The visitors scored 332. T.B. Kehelgamuwa had 6 for 67 and Daya Shabandu 3 for 85. For the Government Services XI D.H de Silva scored 50 not out, Lister XI was saved by a 9th wicket partnership of 124 runs by H.C. Latchamn 67 and H.D. Rhodes 54, this partnership came after T.B. Kehelgamuwa retired with an injury. Madras Gopalan Trophy team came on three occasions, 1967, 69 and 1968. The CPCA won their first victory in 1957 mainly due to some fine bowling by D.G.W Karunarathne who took 7 for 37 and 5 for 42. Madras collapsed for 40 runs in the 2nd innings. In the same match P. Rao took 8 wickets for 20 runs. A.G. Kripal Singh scored an elegant 116 in 1959, all three games were played at Campus Grounds.

In 1974 India met Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI at St. Anthony's grounds Katugastota in a drawn game. Mankad got his name into the record books as the first only visiting player to score twin hundreds - 100 and 104 in Ceylon. This was a three day game; Earlier Australian played a three day unofficial test in 1972.

The first class match at Asgiriya was by Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI against Pakistan led by Inthikahb Allam in 1976. The highlight of the match were 164 run partnership for the fourth wicket by Javed Miandad 123 and Haroon Rashid 102, Jerry Woutersz scored 100 on his debut.

The test era began in Kandy , with a three day match on 22nd February 1983 a year later, Trinity Grounds became Sri Lanka's third test venue and the 54th Test venue in the World. In the first encounter Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI vs MCC were lead by Keith Fletcher, the local side by Duleep Mendis. In the first big match after the redevelopment of the ground. Ranjan Madugalle 142 made the first century with Bernard Perera 56, put on 151 for the fourth wicket. For the MCC G. Cook scored 104 and Mike Gating 57. Ravi Ratnayake bowled best for the local team to take 5 for 112 in the drawn game. Rohan Jayasekara made 52 not out in the second innings.

Since this game almost every team visited has played at this ground, till the last World Cup. The inaugural test with Australia began in April 1983 then came New Zealand, India, Pakistan, England, and South Africa.

Before ending let's remember those officials who have served and left and those still serving the cause of cricket in Kandy. Dr. D.H.L. Anthonisz, Dr. S.C. Blok, Dr. K.B. Sangakara, Shelton Ranaraja, Col. Allan Nugawella, F.J.H Bahar, R.B. Wijesinghe, Dr. P.D. Uduwella, Stanley Martin, Hilary Abeyarathne, Dr. T.N. Ismail, Leslile Handunge, Dr. A.S. Atureliya, Rohan Karunarathne, Chandra Wijenayake, D.H. de Silva, Dr. C.D.L. Fernando. E.W. Balasuriya who organized the first test, Z.M. Jauffer, Harindra Dunuwille, Aubrey Kuruppu, Malcom Perera, Hafiz Marikar, Janaka Pathirane, Deva Amunugama, Roy de Silva, Lakshman Nugawella, Roland Perera, Thilina Tenakoon, Z.M Zarook, Jiffry Abdeen, Sunil Fernando, A. Panditharathne, M. Johnson, C.P.P Raj are some of the names which came to my mind.

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