The 34th ‘Battle of the Rocks’ between arch rivals Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala and St. Anne’s College, Kurunegala will be played at the Welagedara Stadium Kurunegala on the 17th and 18th March.
A bit of History
This series started in 1959 when Nissanka Cooray captained Maliyadeva College and Mahinda Yatawara led St. Anne’s College but the fixture was stopped in 1965. It was revived in 1980, after a lapse of 15 long years. Maliyadeva College leads the series with 5 wins with their last win in 2014 under the leadership of Kusal De Silva.
Devans will be led by Sri Lanka youth cap and dynamic all-rounder Damitha Naveen Silva with dashing top order batsman Dilshan Kollure as his deputy. Silva has proved his all-round capabilities scoring 547 runs with two magnificent centuries against Bandaranayake MMV Gampaha and President’s College Kotte. Silva has also taken 51 wickets with his crafty left arm spin and his best being 5 for 46.
Damitha Silva has represented Sri Lanka Under 19s in 5 Youth Tests and 24 Youth ODIs, where he captured 48 scalps in both forms of the game. Silva also captained the North-Western Province Under U19s to be champions in the Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Provincial U-19 Cricket tournament last year. Maliyadeva College will be banking on their batting this season, having posted totals of over 300 on 5 occasions, with 403 for 7 against St. Joseph’s College Colombo as the best.
Vice-Captain Dilshan Kollure has accumulated 508 runs this season and excelled as a fine fielder. Wicketkeeper-batsman Dulaj Ranatunga is their highest run getter this season, with nearly 800 runs, inclusive of two superb centuries against Ananda College (111) and St. Joseph’s College (118) as his best.
Opener Dinanjaya Premarathna has also performed well this season with 560 runs at the top of the order and he’s another centurion in the side with season’s best of 141 against St. Joseph Vaz College.
All-rounder Kaveen Bandara, opener Supun Sumanarathna, newcomer Muditha Premadasa, Supun Nissanka and Vishwa Dissanayaka will boost the batting down the order.
Maliyadeva’s bowling is spearheaded by medium pacers Manelka Dharmadasa and Dinanjaya Premarathna, and the spin department will be led by skipper Damitha Silva with 51 scalps and off-spinner Kaveen Bandara with 20 wickets. Sanjeevan Priyadarshana has a wicket tally of 37 and he will also be a threat to the opponents.
Devans have 5 all-rounders in their ranks making them a very formidable side this season. They have played 14 matches and won 2 outright against Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya and President’s College Kotte. Devans have lost 2 outrights against Thurstan College and Nalanda College, while the rest were drawn. Maliyadeva won 1st innings against much fancied Ananda College and St. Joseph’s College Colombo this season.
Maliyadeva College has already entered the semifinals of the All-Island Limited Overs tournament, defeating S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia in the pre-quarterfinals and Trinity College Kandy in the quarter finals. Maliyadeva is coached by former Devans all-rounder Thusitha Herath.
Damith Silva ( C ), Dilshan Kollure, Manelka Dharmadasa, Dulaj Ranatunga, Dinanjaya Premarathne, Pavithra Madushan, Sanjeevan Priyadarshana, Supun Nissanka, Sahan Ranatunga, Muditha Premadasa, Deshava Brian, Seran Gunarathne, Chulaka Atapattu, Sachintha Kalana, Nisanjaya Hettiarachchi, Kaveen Bandara, Anjana Sivururatne, Bhagya Supun.
St. Anne’s College will be captained by Sri Lanka Youth Cap Wanitha Wanninayaka, with all-rounder Randeera Ranasinghe as his deputy. Wanninayaka has represented Sri Lanka U19s in a youth Test and was also a member of the North-Western Province U-19 side which won the Inter Provincial U-19 title last season.
He is the most prolific batsman in the U-19 Division II tournament this season, with 827 runs which includes 3 centuries and 4 half-centuries. His top score 139 came against a formidable St. Sebastian’s College.
Wanninayake led his team to 5 outright wins this season against Rahula College, De Mazenod College, S.De S Jayasinghe College, St.Peter’s College Negombo, and St Xavier’s College Marawila. They have already qualified for the semifinals of the U-19, Division II 50-Over tournament, defeating St. John’s College Panadura in the quarter-finals. They have also qualified to play the quarter-finals of the League tournament and aspire to be in the big league next season.
All-rounder Randeera Ranasinghe has stroked 441 runs, 113 being his best and captured 24 wickets with his medium fast bowling.
Stylish left hander Vimukthi Bandara who has scored over 400 runs this season and Pubudu Ganegama with 382 runs are in fine touch this season and much will be expected from them in the big match.
Left-arm spinner Piyumal Sinhawansa is their leading wicket taker with 55 wickets including five 5-wicket hauls this season. His best being 7 for 35 against St Peter’s College Negombo. Spinner Pubudu Ganegama has managed 48 wickets and all-rounder Kavindu Ranasinghe has captured 21 scalps.
St. Anne’s has also posted totals over 300 on four occasions, with 408/7 against Dehiwala Central as their best. Former Annite captain and all-rounder Chanaka Ediriweerage is their coach this year.
St. Anne’s Squad
Wanitha Wanninayake ( C ), Randheera Ranasinghe, Pubudu Ganegama, Tharinda Wijesinghe, Vimukthi Bandara, Piyumal Singhawansa, Pamuditha Sedara, Ahamed Safni, Kavindu Ekanayake, Ruwantha Randika, Sachitha Jayasekara, Bashitha Jayasundara, Kavindu Ranasinghe, Vishmal Herath, Sulakshana Madusith, Dhananjaya Bandara, Hirusha De Silva, Lakshitha De Silva, Creshantha Piyathilake, Dineth Chandimal.
Maliyadeva are the odds-on favourites for the match against their old foes. St Anne’s on the other hand will eye nothing short of an upset as they take up a well gelled Maliyadeva line-up. St. Anne’s should come up with a complete all round effort if they’re to come up with one of the greatest tales of their cricketing folklore.