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Nalanda out to break 59-year hoodoo

Battle of the Maroons begins today:

It is time that Nalanda put their all efforts to bring about the long felt victory when they meet their traditional rivals, Ananda College in the 83rd annual encounter of the Maroons at SSC today and tomorrow.


Ananda College team


Nalanda College team

Having gained a victory under the captaincy of W W Silva in 1953, the Nalandians were in a winless run for 59 years. On the other hand Ananda College this year will no doubt try to repeat what they did in 2003 when D Kularatne guided them for victory.

The well established, Ananda - Nalanda annual cricket encounter is much more than just another 'Big Match'. These two schools have spear-headed many changes in the country's favourite game.

Records shows the dominance by Anandians in the big match series which started way back in 1924 by winning 14 matches while Nalanda has won only 5.

Need for a decision

The two captains Koshan Danushka (Nalanda) and Pasindu Madushan (Ananda) well known for their all round capabilities will be key players of a bold decision this year.

Nalanda skipper and off-spinner Koshan Danushka has already given fair reasons for being the captain by scoring a century and six 50s and claiming 60 wickets for the season.

On the other hand, Ananda skipper Pasindu Madushan who has scored 735 runs with a top score of 111 and three half-centuries while his off spin bowling has earned him over 90 wickets is the ideal rival captain for Nalanda.

Fast or spin

It is evident that pitch preparations are not very much in favour of fast bowlers in the environment of school matches which is something for the authorities to consider for the betterment of future cricket in Sri Lanka.

Pasindu and Koshan will have to try out themselves and fellow spinners to give an entertaining out come as the venue for the big match, SSC pitch has a history of assisting the medium pacemen in the early hours or so and has the tendency of taking spin during the latter stages of the match.

Equal capabilities

Both teams have performed without much difference in the manner they fared the season. Nalanda has played 17 matches and won 2 and lost to St. Sebastian's while the Anandians have won three and has lost to St. Benedict's and Prince of Wales.

Ananda openers Danuka Madushan and Geeshan Wimaladharma have been among the runs,both exceeding the 600 run mark. Nalanda openers Oshantha Silva and Manula Jayasekera too, have been impressive with the bat, both going beyond the 450 run mark.

For Nalanda, no 3 batsman Kusal Dias is more than a useful medium pacer, taking 46 wickets including a hat-trick against Mahinda College. Ishan Rangana - the deputy skipper with 900 runs including three centuries and seven 50s has also taken 33 catches in many positions.

Their middle order looks sound with batsmen Lahiru Wijeratne, Lahiru Jayakody (750 runs), Koshan Danushka, Malinga Vimukthi and Pramuth Hettiawatte.

Galaxy of stars

Sidath Wettimuny, Arjuna Ranatunga, Marvan Atapattu, Thilan Samaraweera and Dinesh Chandimal from Ananda and Lalith Kaluperuma, Bandula Warnapura, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinghe and Mahela Jayawardena from Nalanda are all proud products of these two main Buddhists schools who has won the hearts all around the world.

In the final 12 man squad for our inaugural Test match in 1982, there were three Nalandians (Bandula Warnapura, Lalith Kaluperuma and Anura Ranasinghe) and 3 Anandians (Sidath Wettimuny, Arjuna Ranatunga and Ajith de Silva) 6 out of 12.

The most interesting fact about these two schools in the field of cricket is, for nearly two thirds of Sri Lanka's thirty-year Test cricket history, the national captain has been a Nalandian or an Anandian - Bandula Warnapura, Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Marvan Atapattu and present Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena.

Best of the best

Shantha Kalavitigoda of Nalanda holds the highest individual batting record 149 n.o in 1997.

He broke the previous record of 146 n.o by Roshan Mahanama in 1984. In 1994, Ananda's Thilina Kandamby (144) top scored for his school. Yohan Gunasekera (Nalanda) has the best bowling figures in the series, taking 8 for 32 in 1976.

Ananda College: Danuka Madushan, Geeshan Wimaladharma, Kushil Perera, Pasindu Madushan, (Captain), T. Athulathmudali, Thushara Samarakoon, Ushan Gunatileka, Sisuru Samarasinghe, Venuka Ashan, Isuru Gunasekera, Tiran Wijesooriya.

Nalanda College Koshan Danushka (Captain), Ishan Rangana (V.Capt.), Kusal Dias, Lahiru Wijeratne, Lahiru Jayakody, Nikila Weerasinghe, Oshantha Silva, Manula Jayasekera, Malinga Vimukthi, Pramuth Hettiawatte, Gihan Wickremarachchi, Avishka de Silva, Kanchana Gunawardena, Udara Weerasinghe, Senura Amarasinghe.

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