Peterites end with more questions as Joes ‘finish’ on top | Sunday Observer

Peterites end with more questions as Joes ‘finish’ on top

30 April, 2023
St. Joseph’s College captain Sadeesh Jayawardena drives a ball on his way to a century as St. Peter’s College wicket keeper Nathan David looks on
St. Joseph’s College captain Sadeesh Jayawardena drives a ball on his way to a century as St. Peter’s College wicket keeper Nathan David looks on

The 89th Battle of the Saints, Big Match encounter between traditional rivals St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College ended in a draw at the SSC ground yesterday as rain stopped play before the tea break and the Peterites had many questions to answer.

The heroes on the second day’s play were undoubtedly St. Joseph’s captain and Sri Lanka under 19 wicket keeper opening batsman Sadeesh Jayawardena who scored a spectacular century leading the Joes from the front. He was unbeaten on 110 with seven fours and one six.

Another Sri Lanka under-19 middle order batsman Hiran Jayasundara gave Jayawardena immense support by scoring a superb unbeaten 91 with seven fours while both joined the list of century makers and half-centurions in the Big Match series.

The duo came together at a vital stage of the innings when their team was in a spot of bother at 79/2 with Sri Lanka under-19 captain Shevon Daniel out for 12, caught brilliantly by Shannon Rodrigo at cover point. They probably did exactly what their coach would have wanted as they put on an unbroken 161-run partnership for the third wicket.

As a result, St. Joseph’s went on to amass a formidable 240 for just 2 wickets in their first innings in only 54.5 overs in reply to 214 by the Peterites who will have much to answer their followers.

The two Peterite fast bowlers were mediocre and completely way below expectations compared to the standard of school cricket as both of them had no proper control of bowling to a correct line and length and most of the time wasted the new ball.

The two bowled so many deliveries way too much outside the off stump as well as outside the leg stump and went wicket-less with one conceding over six runs per over and the other conceding almost five runs an over on what is said to be Sri Lanka’s fastest pitch at the SSC.

They were also unlike the two Josephian fast bowlers who bowled a proper line and length where Gagan Chamod bowled brilliantly and took 5/69 off 14.3 overs while the other fast bowler Muditha Dissanayake took a wicket for 33 runs off 15 overs.

Together Chamod and Dissanayake took six out of the 10 wickets to fall with one wicket gone to a run out.

Peterite cricket once boasted to be a power house in the Sri Lanka school cricket arena and won the 2016 big match outright as well as in the 50-over game beating the Joes neck and crop under head coach Malinda Warnapura with Vinu Mohotti as captain.

But seven years down the line Peterite cricket drastically crashed down the ladder and at this year’s big match some of the players were akin to Under-13 lads compared to the Joes who finished this year as joint champs with Trinity College.

The Peterites of yesterday were also nowhere near the prowess they showed at last year’s 88th encounter with Wanuja Shan as captain and coach Janudhika Sriyapala when they had the Joes grasping for breath as the match ended in a draw.

Hence the million dollar question almost every Peterite young and old present at the SSC ground wanted to ask was who is responsible for the sudden downfall of Peterite cricket?

The Peterites scored 214 on the first day and in hindsight it was a below par score compared to how the Joes batted in reply.

Brief Scores:

St. Peter’s College first innings: 214 (57.3) Chamindu Perera 66, Rusanda Gamage 55, Shenon Rodrigo 19, Gagan Chamod 5/69, Lahiru Amarasekara 3/36)

St. Joseph’s College first innings: 240/2 (54.5) – When rain stopped play (Sadeesh Jayawardana 110 not out, Hiran Jayasundara 91 not out)