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POSTED AT 09:53 AM 04-03-2019

Ananda-Nalanda ends with 70th draw in the series

Ananda captain Kamlesh Nirmal and Nalanda captain Lakshitha Rasanjana share the trophy after their 90th annual Battle of the Maroons cricket encounter ended in a draw at the SSC grounds yesterday. Manjula Wijemanne, Co-Chairman, Ananda-Nalanda Match Committee, Thilak Wattuhewa - Principal of Nalanda College, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata PLC, S. M. Keerthiratne, Principal - Ananda College , Mohan Gunadasa, Ananda-Nalanda Match Committee Co-Chairman are also present. Picture by Malan Karunarathne

The 90th Battle of the Maroons cricket encounter between Ananda and Nalanda ended in a tame draw at the SSC grounds yesterday bringing the total number of drawn games in the traditional series to 70 with only 20 matches having ended in a winning result, the last of which being achieved 16 years ago when Ananda won.

Nalanda went into this game overwhelming favourites having won six matches outright and being group champions, however despite all the success they had leading upto the Big Match they were unable to force a win over traditional rivals Ananda who comparatively had a rather ordinary season coming into the match without a single outright win and suffering a heavy innings defeat at the hands of S Thomas’s ML.

By the end of the first day Nalanda seemed to have the game under their control scoring 269-7 declared and reducing Ananda to 52-4. However underdogs Ananda fought back through solid half-centuries from Moditha Ranatunga (64) and Janidu Jayawardene (63 n.o.) to recover to 232 all out after being 55-5 at one stage.

The pair rescued Ananda from a precarious position adding 84 for the seventh wicket following a 63-run stand for the sixth wicket between Kalana Wijesiri (39) and Ranatunga. They thwarted the threatening pace of Chamindu Wijesinghe and Dineth Samaraweera who between them took seven wickets.

Nalanda in their second innings finished on 216-5 the match ending following the dismissal of Lakshitha Rasanjana for 87.

Rasanjana and Chamindu Wijesinghe who was run out for 64 added 109 for the third wicket.

Nalanda opener Avishka Perera who scored a century in the first innings was named the Man of the Match. - YK