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Thurstan and Isipathana should play positive cricket

It is time that both Thurstanites and Isipathanians use their feet and swing the ball to give fans an action packed school big match when the two teams vie for the Blackham Wijewardena Memorial Trophy for the 49th year at SSC grounds , Maitland Place , today and tomorrow.


Thurstan College Seated (from left): Suneth Gunatileka (Asst. Coach), Samitha Abeysundera
(P.O.G.), Rajith Perera, C.B. Dangamuwa (Deputy Principal), Sajeeva Salgado (Captain),
Y.A.N.D. Yapa (Principal), Ashan Wanigaratna (V. Captain), Asitha Samarawickrema (MIC),
Kavidu Silva, Shanaka Fernando (Senior Coach) Standing (from left): Charana Nanayakkara,
Avishka Pieris, Achintha Kalpana, Dulan Chanuka, Minhaj Jaleel, Kawidu Kulasekera,
Tharindu Silva, Nisala Madusanka, Ramidu Kumarasinghe, Pamoth Gunawardena, Thimira
Jayasinghe, Sahan Hewavitharana.

Isipathana College Standing (from left): Kavinda Dananjaya, Ramitha Sandaruwan, Charith
Rajapaksa, Pawan Anjana, Dilan Punchihewa, Sanka Thabrew, Sidath Mallawarachchi,
Ravindu Jayawardena, Gihan Navishan, Chenuka Wickremasinghe, Matheesha Ranaweera,
Malin Dias, Kelum Bastian, Salinda Ushan. Seated (from left): Bradman Ediriweera (Coach),
Harith Wanigaarachchi (Captain), A.C. Perera (Principal), Gamini Sarathchandra (Prefect-of-
Games), Deshan Jayakumar (V. Captain), E.J.M.L. Wasantha Kumara (Master-in-Charge).

The first ball was delivered in Thurstan and Isipathana traditional encounter in 1964 when Jayaraj Perera led Thurstan and S de Silva captained Isipathana. Thurstan did their best to win the second game the following year under Lalith Peiris at the Colts Cricket Club.

Since then Thurstan and Isipathana have won 4 matches each. A significant era in the big match history was the consecutive three year victories gained by Thurstan from 1990 to 92 with Nishantha Dias , Vijitha Jayasundara and Mackenzie Perera being the captains.

This year it is expected by many to see an end to the 10 year old drought in the series with an exciting win for either side . It was in 1999 where Isipathana College emerged victorious by seven wickets under the captaincy of Krishantha Jayawardena at the P. Sara Oval .

Records in the season are in favour of Thurstan losing only two matches outright, playing 13 and Isipathana with a not so impressive record, losing 4 matches outright by big margins in their 16 matches.

Thurstan captain Sajeewa Salgado is the leading scorer who has surpassed the magical 1000 run mark in the season with four centuries including twin tons against Prince of Wales Moratuwa and , five half centuries. Isipathana on the other hand posses a captain, Harith Wanigarachchi who has collected 876 runs with one century and seven half centuries.

Salgado’s 72-ball 142 against Mahanama and his twin centuries have no doubt left Isipathana bowlers to plan something seriously. Besides skipper Salgado, Kavindu Kulasekera(521 runs) with two centuries, Ashan Wanigaratne (446) with a solitary hundred, Milhaj Jaleel (417 runs) with a half ‘ton’ and Ramindu Kumarasinghe (353) including a century have been doing the bulk of the scoring for Thurstan.

On the part of Isipathana Pawan Anjana ( 400 runs) Deshan Jayakumar ( 343 runs ) Sanka Thabrew ( 302 ) will be the key batsmen.

Among the bowlers, left-arm spinner Rajith Perera has stood out for the Thurstanites with a haul of 62 wickets. Jaleel who opens the batting, has also fared well as a bowler taking 33 wickets.

Orthodox left-arm leg-spinner Sidath Mallawarachchi has been Isipathana’s top wicket taker with 45 scalps. Off-spinner Kavinda Dananjaya is the second best with 33 wickets.

Isipathana last won in 1999 and thereafter it has been a series of draws. The highest individual score in the series stands to the credit of Saman Nishantha of Isipathana (150 n.o) in 2002. He surpassed the 146 n.o. by left-hander Kamal Mahendra of Thurstan in 1990.

The best bowling performance in the series is by left-arm medium-pacer Jayajeeva Karunaratne who took 7 for 28 in 1992. Isipathana’s K.L.S.K. Sirisena too took 7 for 79 in the 1967 ‘big match’

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