The 54th Battle of the Brothers between Thurstan College and Isipathana College at the SSC grounds on February 24 and 25 will mark the beginning of the ‘Big’ match season for 2017.
In the current season Thurstan has recorded seven outright wins from 14 matches against Dharmapala, Bandaranayake MMV, De Mazenod, Prince of Wales, St. Joseph Vas Wennappuwa, Nalanda and Maliyadeva with the rest of the matches ending in draws.
In the history of their traditional contest with Isipthana, Thurstan leads the series with five wins their last success coming way back in 1992 under the captaincy of Mackenzie Perera. In their batting the Thurstanites will be captained by Kasun Abeyratne who scored 147 in last year’s big match.
Last year’s skipper Charana Nanayakkara who represented Sri Lanka under 19 team is the most prolific run-getter with 701 runs including a century and five half tons. He has also claimed 48 wickets with best figures of 8 for 15 against St. Joseph’s.
Another centurion Prageesha Mendis has contributed 322 runs to the team while right hand batsman and right arm off spinner Sawan Prabash has scored 560 runs including with three fifties and captured 15 wickets.
Another key player in the side is Nimesh Lakshan who has scored 485 runs with four fifties.
In the bowling line-up left-arm leg-spinner Naveen Gunawardana is the leading wicket-taker with 70 wickets that includes the unique feat of taking all ten wickets in an innings (10/36) against D.S. Senanayake College. He nearly repeated that performance against Maliyadeva College snapping up nine wickets.
Thurstan has a well balanced squad comprising talented batsmen and bowlers such as Kasun Abeyratne (captain), Nipun Lakshan (vice-captain), Imesh Viranga, Sandaru Dias, Navod Samarakoon, Sawan Prabash, Jayavihan Mahavitharana, Akila Ranatunga, Yeshan Wickramarachchi, Thisara Deshan, Prageesha Mendis, Nimesh Lakshan, Thusal Madusanka, Bimara Ranatunga, Pansilu Deshan, Ayesh Harshana, Naveen Gunawardana, Janushke Fernando and Pramesh Dilushana.
Suneth Gunathilake who has coached the team since 2010 said, “We expect to put out a strong side and hope to break the hoodoo of not winning a big match for the past 25 years. Our opponents also have a very good batting line up and I think the SSC pitch will help the batsmen.”
Gunathilaka is assisted by Saman Hewavitharana who has served as Technical Instructor for the past 25 years.