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Two unbeaten teams will meet in 26th “Battle of the Rocks” at Kurunegala
By Vijitha Senaratne - Kurunegala Corr.
The 26th Battle of the Rocks encounter between hometown rivals Maliyadeva College Kurunegala and St. Anne's College Kurunegala will be played on March 11 and 12 at the picturesque Welagedara stadium, play commencing at 10 a.m. on both days. The one-day encounter between the two sides will be played on Sunday March 13 at the same venue. Both teams are unbeaten this season and a keen tussle can be expected this year.

Maliyadeva College will be led by fifth year colours man Weranga Dissanayake with Junior National poolist Sameera de Soyza as his deputy. Middle order batsman Dissanayake has scored over 300 runs this season with a highest score of 50 against Kalutara Vidlayala. Much is expected from him in this big encounter as the leader of the side.

Wicket keeper batsman Sameera de Soyza is a hard-hitting batsman and has scored nearly 500 runs this season with three fifties. He has topped the 700 run mark last season.

Sri Lanka under 19 cricketer Sahalika Karunanayake is the key player of the side this season. Already he has scored over 650 runs with three centuries with a top score of 165 against Dharmaraja College, Kandy.

Opener Rajitha Ratnayake and middle order hard hitting batsman Hishan Gunawardena are the other two players to watch in this big battle. Gunawardena made a fine 70 against Kalutara Vidyalaya this season.

Gihan Ayantah, under 14 captain Dasun Madumal, all rounder Vimanga Perera and Duminda Dassanayake will bolster the middle order batting with some useful contributions.

Devans bowling attack will be spearheaded by paceman Shalika Karunanayaek with 35 wickets and Rajitha Ratnayake 20 wickets and Vimanga Perera as the first change bowler in this big match.

Karunanayake has taken five wickets in an innings on three occasions with best figures of 7 for 47 against Vidyaratha College Kandy. Rajitha Ratnaykae has claimed 7 for 36 against Raddoluwa M.M.V. as his best this season.

Left arm spinner Duminda Dassanayake is the key spinner of the side this season. He has claimed over 25 wickets. Last year he has claimed over 70 wickets and much is expected form him this time.

Pacemen Pubudu Dharshana and spinner Hishan Gunawardena (off spin) and Dasun Madumal (leg spin) will assist them when the team needs their services in the middle of the opponent innings.

Maliyadeva played ten matches this season and all were drawn. They are coached by former Devan all rounder Thusitha Herath with Harris Bandara as their master-in-charge.

St. Anne's is a formidable side this year under the captaincy of all rounder Bhatiya Ratnayake and already posted three outright victories over St. Thomas College, Matale, Holy Cross College Kalutara and St. Benedict's College, Kotahena, all by an innings. Skipper Ratnayake has scored nearly 400 runs this season with a fine 69 against St. Sebastian's College Moratuwa as his best.

S.B. Yatawara is the coach of the side and W.M. Lakshman Priyankara as the master -in-charge.

This series was started in 1959. It was revived in 1980 after 15 years and since then all matches have been drawn. Can anyone break the 'hoodoo' this time? Maliyadeva leads the series with 3 wins to Annites nil.

Maliyadeva College
Weranga Dissanayake (Captain), Sameera de Soyza (Vice Captain), Rajitha Ratnayake, Shalika Karunanayake, Hishan Gunawardena, Gihan Ayantha, Wimanga Perera, Thusitha Kumara, S. Bulathwala, Duminda Dassanayake, Prabath Weerasinghe, Hasanka Weerasekera, Pubudu Dissanayake, Kanisha Rajaguru, Dasun Madumal, Thusitha Herath (Coach), Harris Bandara (MIC).

St. Anne's College
Bhatiya Ratnayake (Captain), Derrick Martin (Vice Captain), Navin Kahapola, Nuski Nazar, Wangeesa Malewana, Yohan Kanumale, Roshan Kaleel, Chaminda Pathirana, Amaranath Wanninayake, Prabath, Aravinda Madusanka Perera, Shanaka Shaninda, Lahiru Lankeshwara, S. Sylvester, S.B. Yatawara (Coach), Lakshman Priyankara (MIC)

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