84th Battle of the Maroons ends in a draw
Pramud Hettiwatte and Dhanuka Pathirana shines with centuries and Nalanda scores their highest ever
It was as far back as 1954 that Nalanda had reached the 290 run mark in a Big Match against Ananda. And 290 was Nalanda's highest total in this series until they came in to the 84th Maroons Battle, with a not so impressive batting record during the season.
Having been put into bat by the Ananda skipper, Thushara Samarakoon, their chances did not look that great having lost 3 early wickets including their skipper, Lahiru Jayakodi, but opener Woshantha Silva with a hard hit 37 runs and Malinga Amarasinghe with a patient 60 runs added some respectability to the scorecard.
Nalanda rattled a score of 298 and declared their innings with only 5 wickets down, in an attempt to grab the advantage of a wicket or two before close of play.
It was all due to a solid batting display during the fifth wicket partnership of 167 runs between Pramud Hettiwatte who joined Avishka De Silva with the score at 131, that enabled Nalanda to take their total past the highest score in the series.
The declaration came soon after Pramud Hettiwatte, reached the milestone of becoming the 14th Nalanda batsman to score a century in the series in an 87 ball knock which had 12 boundaries. Avishka De Silva batting very steadily at the other end was unbeaten with 77 runs to his credit. Pramud Hettiwatte, incidentally is the son of a former national cricketer from Nalanda - Hemanatha Devapriya, who was enjoying the match with his former team mates Upul Gamage , Aruna Ranasinghe, S P Fernando and Asoka Weerasundara in the Brothers tent.
Ananda who were 14 without loss at the end of the first day's play were given a scare by the Nalandians when they lost their opener Thamalaka Athulathmadulai with only one run added. However they recovered through a steady 98 run second wicket partnership between opener Dasun Wijesinghe (who scored a patient 67) and Vice Captain Dhanuka Pathirana who went on to score the second century of the match, a stylish 109 runs before being bowled by medium pacie Ranwalage.
Dhanuka Pathirana became the 11th Anandian batsman to reach three figures in the series and his skipper Thushara Samarakoon made a solid 47 run knock in the middle of the innings to make sure they went past the Nalanda total and reached 301 for 5 wickets before the match ended.