All eyes will be on the 113th Battle of the Maroons in and around the hill capital as Dharmaraja will take on Kingswood for the T.B.Tennekoon Memorial Trophy on the 15th & 16th of March at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Blast from the Past
As their rich history of 112 years records, the first big match played between the two schools dates back to the year 1893, making the Battle of the Maroons the oldest cricket big match in the central province. Rajans were captained by Sir Don Baron Jayathilake in the inaugural encounter while the Kings of Randles Hill were led by A.E. Spencer. The game was played at the Bogambara stadium, earlier used as a cricketing venue.
From the early 1900s the match was switched to Asgiriya International Cricket stadium and then moved to Pallekelle in 2010.
Dharmaraja has dominated the big matches in the recent past, lifting the trophy after 30 years in 2011. Since then they won three consecutive big matches played between the two sides. However, Kingswood won first innings points in the previous two occasions in 2016/17 and 2018.
Kingswood’s last outright win dates back to 1957 under the captaincy of Maurice Fernando which they won by a margin of 10 wickets. So far in the 112 matches played, history records 35 Dharmaraja wins and 19 Kingswood wins with 58 of the matches ending up drawn.
Balancing the weights between the two sides is a tough task with regards to the season because the Rajans play in Division I while the Kings play in Division II.
Dharmaraja has had a brilliant season so far, having played 15 matches to end up with the results of a single outright win, 4 first innings win and 3 first innings losses and to add to 4 draws as well.
Dharmaraja possesses a reasonable batting line up but the top order and the middle order hasn’t clicked when the team has needed them the most and are too dependent on Dulaj Bandara and Captain Sachintha Senanayake who will be the key players in the top order of the Rajans line up. Isuru Dayananda has been the Rajan’s main batting cog, notching up 657 runs for the season so far.
Danuka Marasinghe will be hope to continue his good form behind the stumps in this crucial game.
Upendra Warnakulasooriya is expected to step up with delivering for them with the wickets as he is also the team’s highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 48 wickets. He was also Rajan’s highest wicket taker last year.
|Sachintha Senanayake – Capt|
|Chathura Wickramanayake – Asst Coach|
|U.S.A.Perera – Head Coach|
Kingswood has had a good season so far comparing to their past performances, registering 2 outright wins, 4 first innings wins and 1 outright loss and a single first innings loss.
Deegayu Bandara will captain the lads from Randles Hill this season. He was an excellent 4th year right arm seamer two seasons back, but he hardly bowls now as he has turned his career around as a batsman. He has 30 wickets under his belt this season.
There are two vice captains in the side, both deemed Kingwood’s match-winners. Achala Bogodawatta, the prolific left-hander with all the shots in the book, has been given the added responsibility of keeping for the team. Hasika Gamage is the other vice-captain in the team, also a left hander with over 500 runs this season. He also is capable of bowling some right arm off spin if needed.
Harshana Wickramasinghe and Dumindu Damsika both put together 600 runs each for Kingswood this season and will be looking to improve on their run scoring ability this year. Lakmal De Silva is their most successful bowler, having already picked 75 wickets with a single five wicket haul in the tournament. Uthpala Jayalath opens the bowling for Kingswood and is a fine paceman who can swing it both ways and is capable of surprising the batsman with the odd bouncer.
|Deegayu Bandara – Capt|
|Lakmal De Silva|
Dharmaraja will be looking to repeat what their seniors achieved in the past years where they had a 5-match long winning streak. Kingswood on the other hand would be desperate to end the hoodoo after 60 years of dissatisfaction. This year they will definitely consider their chances with the line-up they have, who will definitely be up for it.
The game might have a little rain involved as Kandy is seeing plenty of rain these days. All in all it will be a mouthwatering tussle at Pallekale as stakes of the bragging rights have been high in the past years.