By M. Shamil Amit
The Battle of the Saints turned out into another stalemate as in spite of St. Peter’s dominating the proceedings their traditional rivals St. Joseph’s holding on to force a draw ending day two on 237 for 8 in the 84th encounter concluded at the P. Sara Stadium yesterday.
The Peterites who came into the game as the underdogs had their rivals struggling for survival in both the innings on day one. The Petes had the Joes batting in tatters on 68 for 4 before the Josephian captain Jehan Daniel came to their rescue with a quick-fire knock of 93 in only 115 balls that included three boundaries and half a dozen sixes.
The right and left arm spin combination of Sachin Silva and Mohamed Ameen who made the early breakthroughs did the damage.
The Peterites in their turn helped by half tons by Shalith Fernando and Ranmith Jayasena ended the day in a strong position of 190 for 6. Resuming on day two and with 11 overs of batting left saw the overnight pair Pabasara Herath and Kanishka Maduwantha adding a further 28 runs before being separated with the dismissal of Pabasara who made a valuable 38 runs which had three boundaries and a six.
The Josephians batting for the second time with a deficit of 49 runs, saw the openers Johanne de Silva and Revan Kelly sharing 43 runs before being separated and they lost another quick wicket for the addition of four runs.
Nipun Sumanasinghe and Jehan Fernandopulle added 34 runs for the third wicket and from there on, they lost wickets at regular intervals and the dismissal of skipper Jehan Daniel cheaply saw them falling back and slid to 146 for 7.
Dineth Jayakody who remained unbeaten on 55 with four boundaries and a six and Dunith Wellalage who made 44 took them to safety with the duo denying further success for the Peterite bowlers.
The pair put on a valuable match saving partnership of 80 runs for the eighth wicket which sealed the game for a draw as the Josephians ended the day on 237 for 8 facing 81 overs.
Preview: St. Joseph’s Start As Favourites
BY M. SHAMIL AMIT
The Saints will march again for the 84th time when St. Peter’s College face St. Joseph’s College in their annual “Battle of the Saints” encounter today and tomorrow at the P. Sara Stadium starting from 10.00 a.m. The Josephians are ahead in the series with 12 wins, their last win being in 2008 under the leadership of Ruwantha Fernandopulle. The Peterites have ten wins having won the encounter in 2016 under Vinu Mohottti thanks to the sportsmanship of St. Joseph’s rector Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel who awarded the win to the Peterites after a crowd invasion when St. Peter’s were on the verge of winning the game.
This time out the two teams are evenly balanced and though the Josephians have the edge, being unbeaten this seaon, the Peterites are more than capable of defeating their opponents despite being slight underdogs.
Four players in particular will steal the limelight in this encounter, namely the two captains -- Santhush Gunathilaka of St. Peter’s College and Jehan Daniel from St. Joseph’s College -- who were members of the Sri Lanka U19 team at the recently concluded ICC U19 World Cup, along with Peterite spinner Ameen Miflal and Josephian batsman Revan Kelly.
Both players have been in fine form, with Miflal having taken 100 wickets and Kelly having tallied over 1000 runs so far this season. .
On form the Peterites cannot be satisfied with their performance this season having played 18 matches and recording four outright wins against Gurukula MV Kelaniya, Richmond College, St. Servatius’ College Matara and Dharmaraja College while suffering three defeats to Maris Stella, St. Sebastian’s College and Prince of Wales.
The Josephians on the other hand have remained unbeaten in their 17 matches with four outright wins against St. Patrick’s College Jaffna, D. S. Senanayake College, De Mazenod College, Zahira College and Ananda College Colombo.
Peterites skipper Gunathilaka is the only centurion on his team, despite missing a part of the season due to national duties, and has scored 600 runs in nine matches.
Apart from him the Peterites will bank on three other batsmen Shalith Fernando, Ranmith Jayasena and Shannon Fernando.
Left arm spinner Miflal, who has had back to back seasons with over 100 wickets will be the cynosure of all eyes in the bowling department and he will be the trump card for the Peterites. The Josephian batting will revolve around their leading run getter and Sri Lanka youth player Revan Kelly who had the honour of being the first player this season to reach the 1000-run mark and has made three tons and five half tons.
Skipper Daniel has not been able to play many matches due to national duty and he along with Jehan Fernandopulle, Sachindu Ravindu, Dunith Wellalage and Johanne de Silva will be the other batsmen the Peterites will have to watch.
The Josephian bowling attack has been in the hands of right arm spinner Ashian Daniel, right arm pacie Lakshan Gamage the opening bowler, and left arm spinner Dunith Wellalage.
The Chief Guest at the 84th “Battle of the Saints” will be Viran Perera who led the Josephians in the year 1991. The two day encounter will be followed by the 44th limited over encounter which is played for the Fr. Peter A. Pillai Trophy and is scheduled to be played on March 24 at SSC ground. In this segment too the Josephians are leading with 21 wins to the 20 by the Peterites who were the winners last year, with two matches being washed out.