As we enter the final few games of the ‘Big Match’ season, the 45th limited overs cricket encounter between St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College on 23rd March (Saturday) at SSC Grounds, Colombo, is set to be a thriller.
The Josephian-Peterite limited over encounter commenced in 1975 under the Rectorship of Rev. Fr. Quintus Fernando of St. Joseph’s College and Rev. Fr. Claver Perera of St. Peter’s College, with the first game of the series played at St. Joseph’s College grounds on 16th March 1975.
The Josephian-Peterite limited overs game which was the first of its kind among schools in Sri Lanka, has always attracted the highest number of spectators for an inter-school limited-over encounter.
After 44 matches, the Josephians lead the tally with 22 wins, closely followed by the Peterites, who have won on 20 occasions. The match in 2001 ended in a tie, while the match in 2008 ended without a result.
Last year, the Josephians brushed aside the Peterite challenge with ease to regain the Rev. Fr. Peter. A. Pillai Memorial Trophy after three years.
At the start of the month, St. Joseph’s College dominated the 85th Battle of the Saints for much of the game, but it was St. Peter’s College who had the final say, thanks to a back-to-the-wall partnership for the seventh wicket between Santhush Gunathilaka and Kanishka Maduwantha.
The Josephians will once again be wary of the ‘Santhush Gunathilaka factor’. The former Peterite captain was in prime form smashing 72 and 161* to stand in the way of a Josephian win at P. Sara Oval.
Apart from Gunathilaka, players like Dinith Anjula and skipper Ranmith Jayasena can be match-winners for the lads from Bambalapitiya. Gunathilaka and Maduwantha are crucial cogs in the Peterite bowling attack, along with left-arm seamer Tariq Saboor and right-arm off-break bowler Ruvin Senevirathne.
The Josephians will once again rely on their middle order batsmen, Dineth Jayakody and Dunith Wellalage to deliver the goods with the bat, while Captain Ashain Daniel will lead the bowling charge along with all-rounder Lakshan Gamage and left-arm spinner Shalinda Senevirathne.
Both St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s recorded clinical wins against Zahira and Mahinda respectively in the Singer U19 Division 1 Limited-Overs Tournament to gain much-needed 50-over match practice before they face each other in what is expected to be another closely-contested game.
According to the team management of both teams, they are not looking to tinker much with their lineups, which played the longer version of the game on 1st and 2nd of March. The Peterites are expected to make only one change by adding some batting strength to the middle order, while the Josephians are most likely to go unchanged.
Catch the live action of the Josephian-Peterite limited overs encounter from 9.10am on ThePapare.com, Dialog Television Channel No.77 and MyTV.