A Brief Resume of the Ananda-Nalanda Cricket Matches 1924 to 1949
By L. S. Lecamwasam
N. M Perera (1925)
B. S . Perera (1924 -1925)
In writing the history of this annual encounter, which the boys of the two important Buddhist Schools so keenly look forward to, one has to go back to the beginning of the year 1922 when Mr. Kularatne, the then Principal of Ananda College transferred 300 boys of his school into cadjan sheds built adjoining the Ananda College Playground `No one realised then that Mr. Kularatne was planting in rich soil a seed that would grow into a virile young tree of great possibilities. The Ananda Elementary Department as this school was then known, was the embryo out of which evolved the Nalanda Vidyalaya of today. The year 1923 saw the second stage of transition in the process of evolution when the Elementary Department was done away with and the Middle School of Ananda College was housed in the new building adjoining the College play ground.
In January 1924 Nalanda Vidyalaya was registered as a full-fledged Secondary School with Mr. Kularatne as the guiding genius of both Ananda and Nalanda. It was however with the appointment of Dr. G. P. Malalasekera, as Principal in 1926, that Nalanda was given entire independence. The first official cricket match of the present series was played in that year.
It is interesting to record that the first cricket match between the two schools was played as early as 1922 by the teachers when the Head Master of the Elementary School led a mixed Match team of ladies and gentlemen against a strong team of Ananda teachers. The present writer, padded and gloved, enjoyed the fun behind the wickets where he had naught to do but watch his companions chase the leather driven hard by the mighty men of Ananda. This match was noted for the numerous accidents, real and unreal, which were promptly used as excuses by some of the tired fielders of the Elementary School team for their exit from the field. Their places were soon filled by an array of school boys who did brilliant work. The most noteworthy performance in the match was the batting of Miss Schokman for the Elementary School team. This annual cricket match was continued with its attendant fun and frolic for several years and was later dropped perhaps owing to the advent of the more important encounter between the boys of the two Schools.
The first cricket match between the boys was played in 1924. The two teams were captained by K. A. P. Rajakaruna (Ananda) and B. S. Perera (NaIanda). Heavy rain however spoiled the game and the match had to be abandoned. The match in 1925 was keenly contested and ended in an interesting finish, Nalanda gaining the honour of victory by several wickets. N.M. Perera captained the Ananda team while B. S. Perera once again led the Nalanda team. It must however be said that in 1924 and 1925 Nalanda Viyalaya had no cricket team of its own. The boys of the two schools had combined practices in cricket and in other games; there was only one cricket team for both schools and that was the Ananda College team. B. S. Perera and his team mates did duty as members of the Ananda College team against other schools. Perhaps it is not out of place to mention that Messrs. K. A. P. Rajakaruna, N. M. Perera and B S. Perera - three past captains have achieved a fair measure of success in the field of cricket. The first two have rendered valuable service to the Indian Gymkhana in London during their student days there while Mr. B. S. Perera is considered a cricketer of distinct merit in the island today. Mr. D. W. Rajapathirana is yet another old captain who turned up regularly for the Indian Gymkhana in London, and has several prolific scores to his credit, Among his achievements is a score of 115 runs made against the India Office. A detailed account of the 1924 and 1925 matches, written by Dr. N. M. Perera who captained the Ananda team in 1925 appears elsewhere.
It was however in 1926 that the first match of the series was really played; for, it was in this year that Nalanda Vidyalaya began its independent career. The boys of Nalanda had taken to cricket among other games and were called upon to match their strength against Ananda. Very laudably the Nalanda lads answered the call inspite of the fact that they had to fight against a far superior side. Numerous tents, gaily decorated, one by each House. lined the boundary on every side. The thousand five hundred boys of the two schools were en fete Bands in attendance added to the liveliness of the occasion while the large number of visitors who were crowded in every tent lent the occasion a social atmosphere. It was amidst such gay scenes that the match commenced.
In their first innings Nalanda fared badly and the whole team was bundled out for the meager total of 45 runs; while Ananda treating the bowling with scant respect piled up 276 runs. W. W. Dep the Ananda Captain, who scored 81 runs was awarded the Cup offered by a well-wisher of the two colleges. Dep’s was certainly the best performance. He followed up his score of 81 runs with. some fine bowling capturing 4 wickets for 6 runs in 7 overs, 4 of which were maidens. W. S. Attygala, with 45, was the next highest scorer for the side. In their second essay Nalanda fared much better; T. D. Amaradasa and D. P. Boderagoma who made 30 and 23 respectively were the chief contributors to the score of 116 runs. N. D de S. Wijesekera, the Ananda wicket keeper, bowling in his pads created a mild sensation, much to the merriment of the spectators. The surprise of the day was provided by Samuel Silva, who though not considered bowler of any ability, captured 3 wickets for, 5 runs in a spell of 4 overs, two of which were maidens. Thus, very early on the second day the match ended in an easy victory for Ananda by an innings and I15 runs as the invited guests were streaming in. The refreshments too had to be served! Some of the old boys therefore, made immediate preparations for a Ladies-Gentlemen cricket match. This was certainly the tit-bit of the day and the visitors enjoyed it greatly. The batting and the bowling of some of the lady teachers of Ananda and of the other ladies who took part in the match were certainly illuminating.
Ananda - Nalanda Teams in 1926
Seated (left to right)
P. M . Jayatileke, D. K. Kodagoda, J. B. Jayawarneda(Captain, Nalanda), Dr. G.P Malalasekara, Mr. P.D.S Kularatne, W.W. Dep (Captain,Ananda) , W.H Wanasinghe, N. D. de S. Wijesekara.
Standing (left to right)
B. Amarasuriya, A. Attygala, N. Kularatne, T. D Amaradasa, D. P. Boderagama, S. Kulatunga, M Shamoon, K. Dharmadasa, W.S. Attygala, Osmund de Silva, B. Somadasa Perera, V. P Jayasena.
On the Ground
Arthur Perera, G. Wickramasinghe, Samuel Silva, G.S Hevavisenti.
The match in 1927 was a whole day affair; yet the enthusiasm of the boys did not flag. There were numerous tents where much merriment prevailed. Throughout the day the tents were packed with interested spectators, a large number of whom were ladies. The "Mazzinians” in their black coats, white trousers and scarlet neck ties were the centre of attraction. Nalanda batting first scored 89 runs. The chief feature of the innings was the batting of P. M. Jayatileka, the Nalanda Captain, whose score of 45 not out was the result of free and easy batting. The Nalandians seemed to have profited by their year’s experience and an all round improvement in the team as a whole was shown. However, Ananda found no difficulty in scoring and amassed a total of 167 runs for 8 wickets when rain put a stop to further play. W. W. Dep, their skipper top scored with 61 runs by polished cricket. Others who contributed to the score largely were Osmund Silva 27 and Samuel Silva 23.
The teams that struggled for supremacy in 1928 were much better balanced. This was therefore one of the best contested matches of the series. The Nalanda lads had gained considerable experience; their leader P. M. Jayatileka was possessed of sound cricket sense and was certainly the mainstay of the team. Though considered a strong side, the capabilities of the Ananda team could never be gauged. They started the season disastrously but showed remarkable form at the end of the season. Winning the toss Nalanda went in and made the respectable score of 144 runs. C. B. Bogallagama, K. W. de Silva and Arthur Perera making 34, 24 and 21 runs respectively inspite of the formidable array of bowlers whom Ananda tried. H. Gunasinghe returned the best bowling average with 6 for 32 runs. In their reply Ananda was able, to make only 93 runs. Yatawara and Sumanadasa from whom much was expected failed to score. Buddhadasa Amarasooriya made a gallant effort for his side scoring 43 runs. The only other batsman who assisted him was V. P. Jayasena. His score of 17 runs was the result of carefree hitting. Going in for their second innings Nalanda played exhilarating cricket to score 189 for 6 wickets. The best performance so far in these matches, was the well compiled score of 111 runs not out made by the Nalanda Skipper, P. M. Jayatileke, in this innings. By this magnificent effort Jayatileke set up two records, one for the highest individual score and the other for the first century in the series. Thus, this one day match ended in a glorious first innings victory for Nalanda lads and will remain so remain so as this series lasts.
This year (1929) saw this fixture given greater prominence than in the past. Once again, as in the first year, two days were set a part and the game itself proved one of the most interesting in the series, the keenest interest being displayed till the last minute of the second day. Ananda won the toss and elected to bat and started well scoring 56 runs for 4 wickets but the whole side collapsed for 99 runs, Nelson Karunaratne capturing 5 for 37. Nalanda in reply went on to score 121 runs thus gaining a lead on the first innings mainly due to a great score of 53 runs by K. Wilson de Silva. R.Weerasooriya and G. S. Jayasooriya bowled best for Ananda capturing 4 for 25 and 3 for 36 respectively. Nalanda’s hopes of another victory were completely crushed by the score of 209 runs made by Ananda in their second innings. H. G. Yatawara 51, Wilmot de Silva 50 and G. P. Sumanadasa 36 were the chief scorers. Nalanda thus had to make`162 runs for victory within the two and a half hours’ play possible. The first four batsmen went about their business cautiously and gathered 80 runs. Soon, however, the Ananda bowlers were on top. R. Weerasooriya, B. Amarasooriya and G. P. Sumanadasa bore the brunt of the attack and captured 3 wickets each. 9 wickets had thus fallen for 90 runs! Five minutes more the excitement was intense. But the two last Nalanda lads tided over the five lengthy minutes and one of the most interesting games of the series ended thus in a draw!
This year (1930) Ananda succeeded in lowering the colours of Nalanda Vidyalaya for the third time. Ananda had first lease of the wicket and started in a most promising manner gathering 133 runs for 3 wickets but the tail failed to Wag and the whole side was dismissed for 187 runs. W. D. de Silva 42, Victor Albert 39 and B. W. de Silva 32 made the bulk of the score. Nalanda, who had 6 for 25 in their reply, made a great recovery to total 102. Vivian Wanasinghe and M. Sudusinghe scoring 27 and 21 respectively. Of the Ananda bowlers Hector Silva bowled remarkably well to capture 4 wickets for 7 runs while G. S. Jayasooriya returned the average of 3 for 20. Ananda closed their second innings with a score of 148 for 5 wickets; E. A. Perusingbe 40; S. F. R. Sirimanne 33 (c o b.) and Victor Albert 33 being the chief contributors to the score. Nalanda was thus set the formidable task of making 233 runs to avert defeat. They started streakily losing 6 wickets for 41 runs. Soon, however, rain came down in torrents accompanied by loud peals of thunder. The batsmen and fielders were wet to the skin but they would not desert the field of battle although the rain continued to fall heavily. Nalanda lads were determined to go through to the end and not rob their opponents of the victory which they well deserved. So, in pouring rain the game continued. Nalanda was able to make only 65 runs. Ananda thus registered another victory. Referring to this match the ANANDIAN writes;-·"They (Nalanda) cared not for mere victory or defeat. But of one thing they were earnest, and that was of playing the game. And the match was continued. Nalandians lost. But, assuredly, we are not sorry that they lost, nor are we happy that we won. But this match—the match that well displayed the true spirit of Ananda and that of Nalanda-will have an important page in the history of the two leading Buddhist Colleges of the island." We hope that this high sense of "playing the game" will always prevail in future encounters of the two institutions.
Ananda put to the field this year(1931) a very strong side. Some of the members of their team had done very well against other schools this season. In their first innings Ananda went on to pile up 276 runs which by a strong coincidence was also the score made by Ananda in the first match of the series in 1926. As in 1926 it was once again the skipper of the side, G. P. Sumanadasa, who paved the way for a great score by playing stylish cricket for 66 runs. E. A. Perusingte 72 and R. W. de Silva 71 batted magnificently for their runs. Nalanda replied with a paltry 92, C. D. Weerasinghe alone making a heroic stand for his 37 runs against the very good howling of Hector Silva who captured 5 for 12 runs. In their follow on Nalanda made a great recovery and went on to make the respectable score of 240 runs. D. B. Amarasekera 82, A. T. de Thabrew 63 and C. D. Weerasinghe 25 pulled their side from at hopeless situation by playing cricket of the right sort. Thus, ended another very interesting drawn game in the series.
G. P. Sumanadasa (1930-32)
E. Wijegunawardena (1932 -34)
The Ananda team was once again a very strong combination (1932). Their main strength was batting. In bowling too they had a very varied attack. This evidently was the cause of Nalanda’s collapse for 99 runs when they had the first lease of the wickets. A. G. Wickramanayake 29 was the only batsman who defied the attack of W. D. de Silva and A. Gunawardena who captured 3 for 21 and 4 for 25 respectively. Ananda in reply made 247 runs. G. P. Sumanadasa, the skipper of the side set up a record by making the first century for Ananda in this series. His was a chanceless score compiled by attractive cricket played all round the wicket. He had just completed his 100 runs when he was well bowled by L. de Silva whose average was 5 for 55. Nalanda opened the second innings also none too rosily, but a bright `innings of 82 not out by C. D. Weerasinghe saved the side from another collapse. Although the tail failed miserably Nalanda went on to make 153 runs just averting an innings defeat. The five runs needed for victory were scored without the loss of any wicket by Ananda who thus gained a ten wickets victory.
Nalanda made another bold bid for victory this year(1933). After a very successful season during which they had won 4, drawn 2 and lost one of the seven matches played, they met Ananda. Ananda on the other hand had had a most disastrous season. They possessed a team of several experienced cricketers who should have given a better account of themselves. Except for individual flashes of brilliance on the part of R. W. de Silva, B. A. Jayasinghe or the skipper E. A. Perusinghe they did nothing noteworthy as a team. Amidst the usual gay scenes which have now become a special feature of this encounter Nalanda opened their first innings. They went on to make 269, their highest score for the whole series of these matches. L. W. Peiris and C. D. Weerasinghe were seen in a great partnership. They played excellent cricket all round the wicket. Peiris was particularly aggressive. He had very bad luck to get out when he was just three runs short of his century. Weerasinghe hit up 82 not out last year when his side was in sore strait. He repeated the performance scoring 81 in great style. Of the seven bowlers Ananda tried the most successful was J. Jayasena whose figures were 5 for 31. Ananda made a disastrous start losing three good wickets in the first half hour for 26 runs. B. A. Jayasinghe and E. A. Perusinghe, however stemmed the tide scoring 65 and 26 respectively. Jayasinghe's contribution and his skipper’s, came at a most critical time of the game and helped to save a collapse. G. A. Perera played patient cricket for his 23 runs not out. Ananda closed the innings with a total of 188 runs. Going in again Nalanda declared at 102 for 4 wickets. Peiris repeated his first innings success with an unfinished 54. During the short time available for play, Ananda lost 2 wickets and scored 31 runs, Thus ended the third drawn game in the series. The match provided excellent cricket to the large number of visitors who were present.
B.D Banduwardana (1934-35)
E. Wijegunawardena (1932 -34)
Two strong teams met in 1934. Winning the toss, Ananda batted first and made 149 runs. The strong Nalanda team with the redoubtable heroes, C. D. Weerasinha and L. W. Peris were out for 65. Ananda going in again made 146 runs for 8 wickets. Nalanda again fared badly making only 64 runs. After 3 drawn games Ananda won a big victory. »
Ananda Team in 1934
Seated (left to right)
O. Goonawardane, J. Jayasena, B. D Banduwardane (Captain),B. A Bogoda, T. Abayawardane.
Standing (left to right)
V. R Perera, E. Rajakaruna, R.M Jayaratnam, M. Ekanayake, E. Weerawardane, G. A Perera, T. G. A Perera.
On the Ground
A. Rajakaruna, H. Rajakaruna
Nalanda Team in 1934
Seated (left to right)
D.B De Silva, D.B Amarasekara, Elton Wijegunawardana (Captain), Lional De Silva, L.W Peries.
Standing (left to right)
C.D.M Weerasinghe, A. E Sirimanne, M.G Andrew, Glen Wickramaratne,M.Y Chandradasa,M. P Karunaratne.
An outbreak of chickenpox caused the match to be cancelled in 1935.
In 1936, however two balanced sides took the field. L. W. Peris had joined the Ananda team. Ananda batting first made 101, and Nalanda doing slightly better made 122. Again C. D. M. Weerasinghe was the hero of the side making 44. Ananda fared better in the second innings, and made 180 runs. Needing 159 to win and with ample time Nalanda began confidently. H. L. Gunaratne played a great innings of 47, but the later batsmen threw away their wickets in trying to force the pace. When time intervened they had made 105 runs for 8 wickets. Another drawn game.
V. R. Perera, Ananda, and M. G. Andrew, Nalanda, led in 1937 two teams particularly good in bowling. Nalanda made 92 (Rajakaruna 5 for 24) and 106 (V. R. Perera 5 for 36). Ananda in the first innings made 85 to which two ex-Nalandians Peris and Chandradasa contributed 49 and 22, E. G. de Silva (4 for 13) and Uduwela(4 for 27) were unplayable. In their second effort Ananda made 114 for 5 wickets and won the match. »
Although Nalanda had the services of E. G. de Silva, Uduwela and Ratnadasa in 1938, Ananda too fielded a strong side which included M. Sirimanne, P. W. Perera and M. A.Rajakarnna. Nalanda made 116 and 111. Ananda 130 and 103 for 5 wickets. ln the Ananda second innings the highest score of 29 was made by W. D. de Silva, the Doctor who is making his mark in municipal politics now. Ananda won again.
ln 1939 T. D. Sugathadasa led a team which had so far won six and drawn one out of seven games played. An excellent all-rounder E. G. de Silva skippered for Nalanda. Ananda batting first made 139. (M. A. Jayasinhe 50) and Nalanda replied with 81. L. B. T. Premaratne took 4 wickets for 12 runs. On their second effort Ananda score read 4 for 49, 5 for 49, 6 for 49, 7 for 49. Finally it reached 74. J. M.Piyasena had taken 5 wickets for 30 runs. Nalanda had 3 and half hours to get 132 runs, which was easily within their reach. Their score however soon read 2 for 18, 3 for 18, 4 for 18, 5 for 19 and finally 10 for 48. T. D. Sugathadasa’s bag was 5 for 16. Ananda won the match.
In 1940 Nalanda did extremely well to lead Ananda by 18 runs in the first innings, in view of the fact that the latter on their showing entered the field as odds-on favorites. A great innings of 45 runs by Milton Fernando enable Nalanda to score 130 in their first innings. Ananda replied with feeble 112 towards which E.W. Balasuriya contributed 28. Milton Fernando followed up his batting performance by capturing 4 wickets for 11 runs. P. W. Perera, the Ananda skipper, made up for his failure in batting by capturing 8 Nalanda wickets for 51 runs. Going in a second time Nalanda scored 135 for 8 wickets and closed their inning G. W. G. Seneviratna 39, R. L. Munasinghe 30 not out were the chief scorers. At this interesting stage heavy rain took control of the situation and continued unabated.
The year 1941, helped by slack fielding and missed catches Ananda totaled 150 towards which D. A. A. Abeywardena contributed 40 and P. W. Perera 31. Inspite of the fine effort by G. W. G. Seneviratne (50) Nalanda scored only 115. L. Nanayakkara captured 4 wickets for 17 runs for Ananda. Ananda started the second innings in a disastrous manner, first three men scoring nothing. P. W. Perera rose to the occasion and by a fighting knock of 67 changed the complexion of the game. He was assisted by P. T. Ranatunga 27 and D. A. P. Abeywardena 26, to put up a total of 173. Nalanda fought hard and gallantly, and scored 154. D. Jayasekera 54, J. M. C. Jayasinghe 33 and Gomes 25 played well. Ananda won again by 54 runs.
During the war years of 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945 no matches were played.
After the war, with the playground still occupied by the British Army, this annual encounter was staged for the first time at the Oval in the presence of a huge gathering in 1946. Ananda, wining the toss, decided to bat. The game was hardly half an hour old, and only one wicket was down for 4 runs when a heavy shower came down and prevented further play. Continuing on the following day at 10 a.m. Ananda totaled 131. H. Molegada’s score of 47 was a fine effort. Bowling honours were scored by J. A. Karunaratna 4 for 32 and D. M. Seneviratna 3 for 32. In the three hours play possible Nalanda made 159 for 8 wickets. D. N. Seneviratne 55, J. A. Karunaratna not out 40 played two capital innings.
Batting first in 1947 Ananda collapsed for the meager total of 92 runs. D. Wickramasinghe 21 and H. de Silva 25 only making any stand. Nalanda went on slowly but steadily and closed their innings at 8 for 158. In their second innings Ananda fared disastrously scoring only 84 runs. Nalanda bowling appeared far too good for Ananda, specially that of D. Piyasekera and W. Silva who captured 3 for 7 and 2 for 13 respectively. Nalanda made the 19 runs needed for victory with the loss of 1 wicket. This victory is Nalanda’s second in the fairly long history of this series.
In 1948, an epidemic of chickenpox put a stop to this match for the second time.
The venue of the match in 1949 was once again the College playground. Ananda made the respectable total of 200 runs, mainly due to a fine effort on the part of N. Kulatunga who scored 70 runs. R. Panditharatna 31, H. Seneviratna 27 also helped their side. Nalanda very advisedly closed their innings at 208 for 8 wickets. M. A. L. Perera made 79 by faultless batting and D. Perera 37. In Ananda’s second innings the score board read 3 for 6, 4 for 6, 5 for 11 and 6 for 11. Though N. Kulatunga made a lone effort to stems the rot his team mates continued to retire to the pavilion bowled or caught. His score was 33 out of total of 66; Kulatunga’s 70 and 33 runs in batting and 5 for 39 in bowling is one of the first achievements in this series. For the loss of 4 wickets Nalanda made the runs needed for victory. Thus Nalanda won a great victory for the third time.
Ananda Team in 1949
K.D.S Wimalasekara, R. Panditha Ratna, B. Wijesingae, H. Silva, H. Seneviratne, S Molligoda, A, Wijemanna, N. Kulatunga, J.N, Bakmeewewa, N. Udugampola, S.L Silva
Nalanda Team in 1949
M.A.L Perera, Stanley Jayasinghe, A Dharmadasa, Carl Obeyasekara, Valantine Obeyasekara, Ashley Silva, W.J Jayasooriya, Walter Amarasingha, W. H Samarasekara, Clarance Peries, Donald Perera, Sarath Hewagama, W.W Silva, H.A Bastian