Trinity College- St. Anthony’s evenly matched

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Trinity College will host St Anthony’s College in their 103rd ‘Battle of the Blues’ for the John Halangoda Trophy at the Asgiriya Stadium on 3 and 4 June. The encounter is being played after a lapse of two years due to the Covid pandemic. Incidentally, Trinity is also celebrating 150 years.

Wicket keeper Akram Muthalib leads Trinity. Under his leadership Trinity lost only to St. Peter’s, while winning against D.S. Senanayake and Ananda outright, and against Mahanama, Prince of Wales, St Joseph’s, Nalanda, Wesley, St Sebastian’s and Royal on the first innings.

Akram has been consistent in his batting and scored over 600 runs with a best of 162 against Prince of Wales. In addition, he is one of the best wicket keepers in school cricket this season.

Pawan Pathiraja (511) and Vibawith Ehelapola (422) are their other two leading batters. Pahiraja stroked a classy century (133) against Royal in their last game.

Theeraka Ranatunuga has had a magnificent season with the ball, claiming 48 wickets with a best of 6 for 58 against the tough Nalanda outfit. He is the highest wicket taker so far this season. Against Joes he took 8 wickets and also showed his prowess as a batter with a brisk unbeaten 44. He has scored more than 240 runs and is turning out to be a good all-rounder.

Manula Kularatne (26) and Dinuka Thennakoon (35) are the other two leading bowlers. However, they will miss the services of Matheesha Pathirana, who has been selected for the T20 series against the visiting Australians. This is a major blow for the Trinitians. He played a major part in the Under-19 World Cup in West Indies, plus was the only schoolboy to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Antonians won two of their traditional matches – against Kingswood and St Servatius. They won on the first innings against Isipathana, Thurstan, Ananda and St Benedict’s. In the one day matches they beat St. Thomas Matara, St Benedict’s, St Joseph’s, St Sebastian’s and lost to Richmond.

Asitha Wanninanayake leads the Antonians individual score with 728. Chamidu Wickremasinghe (520) and Chandimal Herath (380) are the other leading batters. Another upcoming youngster Mohamed Aaqil too has scored over 410 runs, stroking a brilliant 70 against Ananda in their last game.

Antonians last win came three decades ago under Umesh de Alwis way back in 1992, while Trinitians scored their last win under national player Niroshan Dickwella in 2012. Trinity leads the series with 23 wins to Antonians 12, with 67 ending in no decisions.

Squads:

St Anthony’s: Lahiru Abeysinghe, Bimsara Jayasekera, Yasiru Gamarachchi, Divyesh Ramaiya, Kaveesha Piyumal, Mohamed Aaqil, Induwara Galapitage, Chandimal Herath, Viharuke Ekanayake, Chamidu Wickremasinghe, Kanawha Rajapaksa, Kavindu Shehan, Traveen Mathew, Asitha Wanninayake, Thisara Ekanayake, Rayan Anthony and Jayoda Amarasena (Head Coach Suneth Gunathilake)

Trinity: Akram Muthalib (Capt), Vibawith Ehelapola, Rahal Amarasinghe, Manula Kularatne, Theeraka Ranathunga, Dinuka Thennakoon, Ranuda Somaratne, Pawan Pathiraja, Kusal Wijethunga, Supun Waduge, Tharana Wimaladharma, Viduka Dammage, Dinusha Pieris and Janith Warunakula (Head Coach Naveen Ekanayake)

By Special Correspondent