Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata Plc, has extended its corporate backing for the fourth consecutive year as the official sponsor of Sri Lanka’s blue ribbon cricket encounter, the ‘Battle of the Blues’, between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for the prestigious Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake Memorial Shield, from 8-10 March, at the SSC grounds in Colombo.
In the 2018 edition of ‘Battle of the Blues’, the boys from Mount Lavinia will be led by all-rounder/top order batsman Delon Peiris, whilst the lads from Reid Avenue will be under the captaincy of Pasindu Sooriyabandara.
The Royal-Thomian has a rich and colourful history spanning 138 years and is also the second longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peter’s College, Adelaide and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, that began just a year earlier. In 1880 the first match, in which only the boys took part, was played on Galle Face Green, the present location of the Taj Samudra Hotel. This was the start to the centenary series.
The playing fields of the Roy-Tho has the distinction of producing cricketers who later became eminent heads of state, with S. Thomas› producing the father of the nation, D.S. Senanayake and his son Dudley Senanayake (1927-1929) as Prime Ministers of Ceylon, while Royal produced Rt. Hon. (General) Sir John Kotelawala MP (1914-1915) as Prime Minister and the first Executive President of Sri Lanka, the late J.R. Jayawardene (1925). The tally between the two schools at present stands at 35 for Royal and 34 for S. Thomas’, with the highly-debated match in 1885, where Royal College was all out for nine runs with no play on the second day is considered a win by S. Thomas› and considered a draw by Royal. The Shield at present sits as the crown jewel amongst the silverware in the principal’s trophy cabinet at Royal College, which will be challenged by an emerging Thomian outfit this year. S. Thomas’ College last won the big match in 2007 under skipper Ashan Peiris, while Royal College last won the coveted shield under the captaincy of Geeshath Panditharatne in 2016. In 2015, on the 136th edition of the Royal-Thomian, Dialog rekindled a long and successful partnership with Sri Lanka’s Blue Ribbon Big Match, The Battle of the Blues. The 139th edition of the Royal-Thomian will be the 12th year that the match is sponsored by Dialog.
Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider Dialog Axiata has also made a pledge to contribute Rs. 1,000 for every run scored and Rs. 10,000 for every wicket that fell. Last year’s exciting encounter contributed Rs. 1,036,000 to the ‹Play for a Cause› pledge.
The proceedings were directed in consultation with the Principal of Royal College and the Warden of S. Thomas› College to support and empower selected deserving schools. Since the inception of the ‘Play for a Cause’ pledge, Rs. 2,959,000 worth of cricket gear was donated to 10 deserving schools.
Dialog Axiata Group, a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), operates Sri Lanka’s leading Quad-Play Connectivity Provider. Dialog Axiata Plc, listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, supplements its market-leading position in the Mobile Telecommunications sector with a robust footprint and market presence in Sri Lanka’s Fixed Telecommunications and Digital Television markets through its fully-owned subsidiaries Dialog Broadband Networks Ltd. (DBN) and Dialog Television Ltd. (DTV). Dialog Axiata Group is Sri Lanka›s largest Foreign Direct Investor (FDI) with investments totalling over $ 2.2 billion. The winner of six Global Mobile Awards, Dialog has the distinction of being voted by Sri Lankan consumers as the Telecom Service Provider of the Year for six years in succession at the SLIM-Nielsen People›s Choice Awards. Dialog was also voted by Sri Lankan consumers as the Internet Service Provider of the Year, and has topped Sri Lanka’s Corporate Accountability rankings for the past six years in succession and is an ISO 9001 certified company. The company has received numerous local and international awards including the National Quality Award and Sri Lanka Business Excellence Award.
Dialog has been at the forefront of innovation in the mobile industry in Sri Lanka since the late ’90s, propelling the nation’s mobile telephony infrastructure to a level of advancement on par with the developed world. The company delivers advanced mobile telephony and high-speed mobile broadband services to a subscriber base in excess of 11.8 million Sri Lankans, via 2.5G and 3G/3.5G and 4G networks.
Pix By Indraratna Balasuriya