St. Johnís favourites yet again
101st ĎBattle of the Northí
by Reemus Fernando
St. Johnís College, who are ahead in the 100-year-old Jaffna ĎBig Matchí, yet again go out favourites when they field a formidable side against Central College - who have been striving hard to record a victory this season - when the two teams meet in the 101st ĎBattle of the Northí big match at Central College Grounds from March 15-17.
Having recorded one victory and remaining unbeaten in the other four matches they played this season, St. Johnís College have groomed up well to encounter their old rivals with confidence in the 101st encounter which will be played as a low key affair due to security reasons.
When St. Johnís take the field under the captaincy of P. Neshavarman they have several experienced batsmen who have accumulated over 200 runs in five matches and a second year player who has amassed two centuries and two half tons in four matches to brace their batting line up.
Third year player and wicket keeper batsman Neshavarman, who has scored a century and a half ton during their five match season, deputy skipper T. Kirushanth with a half ton scored against St. Patrickís College and second year player M. Haripraveen, steeling the limelight with two tons and two half centuries, could easily be the top scorers for St. Johnís in the annual encounter that will last for three days.
Right arm medium pacer A. Akshayan, who has bagged over 20 wickets this season could easily be their pick of the bowlers.
Meanwhile, Central College under the captaincy of Ebraham Prasad have encountered misfortunes during the five match season. While all their matches have ended in draws, their chief scorer for the season has been the skipper. A top score of 62 runs by Ebraham Prasad against Skandavarodaya College Chunnakam is the highest score by a Central College cricketer this season. Though that stands at odds with the huge scores amassed by their counterparts, history has proved that the youngsters of Central College have struck form in the annual big match, when it all matters to them.
While their batting revolves around skipper Ebraham they will rely on quick bowlers Naganadan Mathippriyan and Jeganathan Viyasan to deliver the goods, when itís fielding time.
Though St. Johnís College leads the victory tally in the series 33-22, the annual encounter has been closely contested during the last few years. While Central College recorded their last victory in 2002, St. Johnís College were the last to win the big match. St. Johnís won in 2004.
Central College: J.R. Ebraham Prasad (Captain), Jeyanandan Dilan (Vice Captain), Don Bosco Sudharshan, Navanratnalingam Navaneeth, Kulendram Shelton, Baskaran Dahjan, Jeganathan Viyasan, Naganadan Mathippriyan, Wensaslos Christy Jhonson, Jajathurai Vinod Kumar, S. James Janson, Joseph Rajaratnam Nidharshan, Ravi Vooshanan, Murugayiah Stephan Raj
St. Johnís College: P. Neshavarman (Captain), T. Kirushanth (Vice Captain), A. Akshayan, V. Ragulan, K. Janushan, P. Dinesh, V Pranavan, M. Haripraveen, V. Ben Vinothan, E. Larushan, K. Atchuthan, E. Thavaneethan, R. Hajeepan, V. Harivathanan, A. Vithooshan

Series results
Played 100
Central College won 22
St, Johnís College won 33
Drawn 36
Results not available 7
Abandoned 1
1996 Not played 1
Highest scores
344 by Central College in 1992
326 for 6 by St. Johnís College in 1999
Highest individual score
145 by Suren Kumar of St. Johnís College in 1990
143 by E. Ragudan of Central College in 1992
Best bowling
9 for 33 by E. D. Devanayagam of St. Johnís in 1950
8 for 22 by A. B. Segerajasingham of Central in 1960


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