Bit of History:
Thurstan College has been playing cricket since the early 1950s and has produced many champion teams in the past, including the team crowned as the best cricket team of the island in the 2007/2008 season under the stewardship of all-rounder Umesh Karunarathne.
In 2014, Thurstan College emerged under 19 limited-overs champions, beating S. Thomas’ College in the final under Minhaj Jaleel’s captaincy. Last season, all-rounder Thimira Jayasinghe led Thurstan to second place in the under 19 Division I league table, second only to Trinity College.
Players in the caliber of Amitha De Costa, Niroshan Bandaratilleke, Hemantha Boteju and Lahiru Gamage have represented Sri Lanka after learning the basics from Thurstan College. The boys in Blue, Red and Gold registered their last ‘Big Match’ victory way back in 1992.
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Season so far:
The Thurstanites have played 16 matches so far and have managed to get 6 wins under their belt but unfortunately they lost their pre-quarter final encounter to St. Servatius College, Matara last week, hampering their title hopes.
Sri Lanka under 19 representative and 5th year coloursman, Charana Nanayakkara will lead the strong Thurstan outfit. An extremely talented fast-bowling all-rounder, Charana has a brilliant cricketing brain over his shoulders and has a wealth of experience. The right-hander has scored close to 500 runs this season despite missing many matches due to national commitments.
Charana’s deputy for the season, Sajith Gunathilake is a technically sound right-handed top-order batsman who has an invaluable repertoire of strokes and is pleasing to the eye while in full-flow. An occasional off-spinner, he has scored more than 500 runs this season and a lot will depend on his form during the all-important ‘Big Match’.
Senior player Kasun Abeyrathne representing his alma mater for the 3rd consecutive year is another batsman to watch out for as he has shots all around the ground. A regular wicket-keeper over the last few seasons, Kasun has given up keeping duties to concentrate more on his batting.
Left-arm spinner, Dilan Madusanka has been the most successful bowler for the team from Reid Avenue. He is the only player to reach the 50-wicket mark and will be itching to provide vital breakthroughs in the 53rd Battle of the Brothers. Another left-arm spinner, Naveen Gunawardene playing his second season has already picked up over 30 wickets and he is assured to play a big part in Thurstan’s plans for the Big Match.
Fast-bowler Isitha Dew is expected to lead the bowling unit; the tall lanky right-arm seamer has captured over 25 scalps this season. Isitha’s partner-in-crime will be Nipun Lakshan who is also a solid all-rounder for the Thurstanites.