Gunatilleke the Peterite saviour | Sunday Observer

Gunatilleke the Peterite saviour

 Santhush Gunatilleke celebrates his match-saving 161 Pic: Shan Rambukwella
Santhush Gunatilleke celebrates his match-saving 161 Pic: Shan Rambukwella

Santhush Gunatilleke was just the man that St. Peter’s College would have wanted as he came to their rescue when they needed him most with a solid and match-saving 161 as their 85th Battle of the Saints big match against St. Joseph’s College ended in a draw at the P Sara Oval yesterday.

Gunatilleke was at the crease when the Peterites were staring at a possible defeat at 106 for 6 in their second essay after the Joes declared at 286 for 8 in their first innings, a lead of 67 runs.

But Gunatilleke like a true saviour rescued the Peterites with his seventh century of the season while associating in a record unbeaten 211 runs stand for the seventh wicket with Kanishka Maduwantha who also played like a senior pro to remain unbeaten on 89.

With the Peterites staving off a possible defeat and not being able to force a result, they continued to bat on until the close of play reaching 317 for six as the Joes who thought they had the match in the bag went back to their dressing room dejected at not being able to take the balance four wickets.

Some of Gunatilleke’s shots were masterly as he struck 13 fours in the partnership which came in 240 balls.

The stand between Gunatilleke and Maduwantha eclipsed a previous best of 173 for any wicket between Rohan Buultjens (100) and his skipper Kito Fernandopulle (74) for the third wicket at the big match in 1979.

The highest team score recorded in the ‘Battle of the Saints’ series was by St Joseph’s who made 382 in 1982 under the leadership of Ken Serpanchy while the highest Peterite total was in 1938 under Percy Perera when they accumulated 345 runs.

Chief Scores:

St. Peter’s College 219 (Santhush Gunatilleke 72, Dinith Anjula41, Wanuja Sahan 26, Ranmith Jayasena 21, Nipunaka Fonseka 21, Ashen Daniel 3/58, Lakshan Gamage 2/38, Shalinda Seneviratne 2/43) and 317/6 at close (Santhush Gunatilleke 161 not out, Kanishka Maduwantha 89 not out, Shannon Fernando 25, Ashen Daniel 2/65)

St. Joseph’s College 286/8 dec (Dineth Jayakody 77, Dilesh Perera 62, Johanne de Zilva 45, Shevon Fonseka 37, Ranmith Jayasena 2/33, Kanishka Maduwantha 2/51, Tariq Saboor 2/51)

Awards:

Best fielder: Shevon Fonseka (St Joseph’s)

Best Bowler: Ashan Denial (St Joseph’s)

Best Batsman: Santhush Gunatilleke (St Peter’s)

Best All Rounder: Kanishka Maduwantha (St. Peter’s)

Man of Match: Santhush Gunatilleke (St. Peter’s) St Peter’s retained the Fr.Maurice Lecog Trophy 

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