Jason plays lead role for Bens

By Chris Dhambarage
It turned out to be a red-letter day for St. Benedict’s College when they pulled off a historic innings and 38-run victory over Ananda College in their annual inter-school under-19 cricket tournament match played at Kotahena last week.

The match winner for St. Benedict’s College was undoubtedly their skipper Jason Perera who led the way with a magnificent all-round performance. The left-arm fast bowler took a match bag of nine wickets including a career best seven-wicket haul in the second innings and also hit a splendid knock of 135.
The third year coloursman was elated with the team’s huge success which in fact was achieved after a lapse of 48 years having last defeated their opponents Ananda College way back in 1963 under the captaincy of Quintus Perera.

“My first intention was to overtake Ananda’s total and then to build up a good first innings lead. I was a bit slow at the beginning and faced a lot of deliveries but later on I opened out to play my normal game,” said Jason Perera the only coloursman in the team.
The captain of St. Benedict’s College revealed that they went into this game with a set plan to attack the opposition and was pleased with the fact that everything went in favour of his team and were able to outplay the Anandians in all departments.
“My idea was to see that the team got a big first innings total so that we will not have to bat for the second time. Unlike last season I have decided to play more cautiously and as a result I faced over 250 balls to reach my hundred.

“When I went into bowl I was not under pressure because my other new ball partner Sachin Peiris did well to give us the early breakthrough by capturing a couple of quick wickets. After a short opening spell I came back for my second spell to claim three important wickets and following another good rest I was able to wrap up the Ananda innings for a total under one hundred runs”.
The left-arm seamer believed that the conditions were really conducive for fast bowling and as a result was able to produce his best ever bowling performance in First XI cricket. “As there was a lot of grass on the surface I managed to extract plenty of swing and movement with the new ball and I must also commend my other fast bowlers for providing excellent support from the other end.”
Jason Perera joined St. Benedict’s College from the under-15 tournament onwards after having started his school cricket career at Christ King College in Tudella under the guidance of his first coach Malcolm Fernando.
“In my first year I was able to help my team emerge under-13 champions in 2006 and in the following year we managed to reach the semi-finals. I scored over 600 runs in that tournament and was also placed third in the Best Batsman’s category.

“As there was no under-19 cricket at Christ King College I decided to join St. Benedict’s College and since then I have represented the college in the under-15 tournament (twice), under 17 tournament and this is my third year with the First XI side” added Jason Perera.
Meanwhile St. Benedict’s College present cricket coach N. I. C. Silva described Jason Perera’s performances as a unique achievement and also predicted a bright future for this promising all-rounder who led the way with both bat and ball.

“It was a genuine match-winning performance and for a schoolboy it was a dream come true to score 135 runs and claim seven wickets in an innings. He swings the ball a lot, has a good pace and being the captain of the team he wanted to lead from the front and so he bowled his heart out on that day.
“I asked him to bowl a good line and length and the Ananda batsmen did not have much of a technique to cope up with his pace. I told him to keep it simple and just pitch it up and got a few leg before decisions.
Last year of course he was a flashy player but I told him he has to be more patient and should set an example for the other players and make sure that he does not throw his wicket away.”

“He was 80 not out overnight and I told him there have been no centuries for many years against Ananda and this was a great opportunity to make an impact as a batsman and I am happy that he has done it.
“He will be a fantastic all rounder because he has a good pace and swings the ball a lot like Chaminda Vaas with a good in-swinger to the right-handers. In batting he is much better than some of the other players who are currently in the under-19 pool and he should be given a fair chance,” concluded Silva.