The big match fever spreads to the Jaffna peninsula as all arrangements have been finalized for the 112th Battle of the North encounter between St John’s Jaffna and Jaffna Central scheduled to be played on March 8, 9 and 10 at the Jaffna Central grounds.
The Battle of the North is the oldest playing big match in the Jaffna peninsula and according to records available from the 111 matches that have been played so far St John’s are leading the series with 35 wins to the 27 won by Jaffna Central with 40 drawn and one abandoned while results of seven matches are not available.
The Johnians were the last winners of the encounter which they achieved in 2015 and the Centralites last win was recorded in the year 2011.
St John’s led by fifth year coloursman Vasanthan Jathushan. They have enjoyed a fairly successful season; having played 14 matches securing nine outright wins against Kilinochchi Central, Royal Colombo, Siri Piyaratana MMV Padukka, Kingswood, Kegalu Vidyalaya, Mahajana Thellipalai, Skandavarothaya Chunnakam, Jaffna Hindu and Jaffna College while losing two to Sri Sumangala Panadura and Sri Dharmaloka MV Kelaniya.
Jaffna Central will be led by fourth year coloursman Sivalingam Thasopan will becoming into the game with confidence due to the fact that they have remained unbeaten having played ten matches and securing four outright wins against Sri Sumangala Kandy, Azar College Matale, Nuwavala MMV and Mahajana Thellipalai.
Even though the two teams seems to equally balanced the scale is favour of the Johnians as they have the ammunition in both the batting bowling department specially in their batting.
Skipper Jathushan will be the player that the Centralies will have to watch as he is a player with loads of experience and a fine allrounder who has had two successful seasons and led the Northern Province U19 team and a member of the Northern Province U23 team.
He was adjudged the best batsman in last year’s encounter and also the man of the match last in the limited over game. So he no doubt is going to be a thorn in the flesh for the Central side. Jathusan geared up for the big one with a fine knock of 157 against Jaffna College last week and his bowling has Jathushan has in his side two experience player’s fifth year coloursman Kanagaratnam Kabilraj the best bowler and man of the match in last year and Murfin Abinash who has performed with success both in the batting and bowling departments.
Their batting will revolve around the above three players while Naganthiarajah Sowmiyan, Devadas Sheropan, Theivendram Dinoshan, Joel Praveen and Vadivel Abilakshan are expected to support the trio with their useful contributions for the Johnians to put up a challenging score.
The bowling will be in the hands of skipper and left arm spinner Jathushan who was adjudged the best bowler and best allrounder in in the 110th encounter and the support of Kabiraj, Abinash, Dinoshan, Abilakshan and Shanthakumar Shanushan is going to be crucial to curtail the Centralite batting.