A month into the season, school cricket in Kandy has not really picked up. St. Anthony’s, Kingswood and Vidyartha have played but one match, while St. Sylvester’s have played two. This Friday and Saturday (7th and 8th) will see one of the bigger clashes and better matches.
Trinity, not quite the force it was in the last so many years, has first-innings wins over St. Servatius’ and Dharmapala, and a first-innings loss to D. S. Senanayake. Trinity’s performance against Dharmapala was pretty poor. Expected to canter home, they barely got the first-innings lead.
Dharmaraja did what had to be done by beating Devananda and Dharmapala, but found St. Sebastian’s a much tougher nut to crack. They followed on and forced a draw.
The corresponding match between Trinity and Dharmaraja last year was a cracking affair. Bowled out for 119, the Rajans kept their opponents to 220. In return, they reached 220 second time round. Trinity’s target of 120 was reached for the loss of seven wickets. Dharmaraja threatened, but the winners survived.
In the case of both teams, there hasn’t been a team effort so far. What is meant is a performance in which seven or eight players put their hands up. Skipper Sanogeeth has made a couple of 30s, but what could be termed a failure for a player of his talent. He has compensated with a bagful of wickets. The other player of note, Boyagoda, has had a lean time. Kalana de Soysa has shown promise. In the bowling, Nethmal has made a mark with 12 wickets. Not much can be said of others.
In the case of the Rajans, more players have assisted in the batting department. Skipper Gunasinghe has led from the front, providing his customary 30 and added a 54 for good measure. Nivantha Herath and Sachitta Senanayake have come up with a half-century each while Aludenia and Tillekeratne made runs in a crunch situation.
As far as the bowling goes, Dharmaraja seems to have but two effective performers – left-arm spinners Gihan Vitharana and Rukmal Dissanaike. Both have two five-wicket bags each. Without them, the Rajans would have been in a sorry plight.
As for the match itself, it is almost a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other. On performance, thus far, Dharmaraja has got their noses in front. However, a sizzling knock from the Trinity skipper, on his home ground, could change the equation. It would do well to remember that he scored 66 last year, in a reasonably low-scoring match.