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Srilanka Cricket History

The journey of Srilankan cricket began with the creation of Colombo cricket club in 1832. Later in 1880 Ceylon National Cricket Team was formed.They started playing first class cricket in 1920's. Srilanka was granted associate member status by International Cricket Council in 1965. Later in 1972 the team was renamed as Srilanka. In 1975 Srilanka played their first World cup match against the mighty West Indies. West Indies won the match by 9 wickets. Lankans were admitted to the Test arena in 1981. Srilanka tasted their first ODI victory in 1979 against India.The case was same in Tests too. They had their first Test  victory against the same opponents in 1985.

Early Achievements

Srilanka cricket history boasts many great achievements. They won the World cup in 1996, held in the Indian sub continent. They were crowned as the champions in Asia cup in 1986,1997,2004,2008 and 2014. Srilanka has also done well in the T20 format too.Their first ever T20 international was played against England, which they won by 2 runs. Srilankans won the T20 World cup in 2014, when they defeated India in the finals by 6 wickets.njan
Srilanka played their first test match against England at Colombo in 1982. The team was lead by Bandula Warnapura. England won the match by 7 wickets. The first major achievement for Srilanka came in 1986. They won the Asia cup, defeating Pakistan in the finals by 5 wickets. Arjuna Ranatunga scored a match winning 57.

                                                                 Bandula Warnapura

In 1990's Srilankan Cricket moved forward and became a force to reckon. They achieved series victory (1-0) against New Zealand in 1992.Later they defeated England in a solitary test match of the series and won 1-0. Srilanka achieved first overseas test victory in 1995 when they defeated the Kiwis by 241 runs at Napier.This also marked their first overseas test series victory 1-0. The side was lead by Arjuna Ranatunga.

1996 World Cup

1996 was the year when Srilanka lifted the World cup.Australia and West Indies were unwilling to play in Srilanka due to security reasons. So Srilanka won these matches by walkover . Later they defeated Zimbabwe,India and Kenya. In quarter finals the island nation defeated England by 5 wickets. Sanath Jayasuriya score 82 off 44 deliveries. In semi final they overcame India at Eden gardens. The final was held at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.Australians were their opponents. Ranatunga won the toss and chose to bowl first. At one stage Australians were cruising at 137/1. But the Lankan bowlers pulled back things to make it 170/5. Australians were restricted to 241/7 in their quota of 50 overs. In reply Srilanka, well supported by a crafty century from Aravind de Silva(107*) and half century from Asanka Gurusinha(65) and a well made 47* from Arjuna Ranatunga , managed to chase down the target. Srilanka was well served by the likes of Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda deSilva,Muthiah Muralutharan,Chaminda Vaas,Sanath Jayasuriya and so on.

                                                        Sanath Jayasurya- The Matara Marauder

 In 1996 World cup Sanath Jayasuriya and wicket Keeper Romesh Kaluwitharna formed a deadly opening pair.It was them who introduced the idea of plundering maximum runs in first 15 overs, when fielding restrictions were on. Chaminda Vaas didn't had the pace of Wasim Akram or Allan Donald. But he was one of the best fast bowlers world has ever produced. It was the swing and length which made him so lethal. Vaas achieved a hatrick in the first 3 balls of the match against Bangladesh. Muthiah Muralitharan is considered as one of the greatest spinners in cricket. His records justifies the claim of the cricketing pundits. Muthiah too won many matches for Srilanka with his magical fingers.

With Sanath Jayasuriya,Aravinda De Silva,Arjuna Ranatunga,Hashan Tilakaratne,Asanka Gurusinha,Roshan Mahanama and Marvan Attapattu Srilanka had a formidable batting line up.

                                                                       Aravinda Desilva

Srilankan Cricket in  2000-20015

Srilanka reached 50 over World cup finals in 2007 and 2011. But they were defeated by Australia and India in each of the instances. In 2009 they were defeated by Pakistan in the T20 World cup. Tilakaratne Dilshan introduced the 'Dilscoop' shot in that year. He was adjudged as the Man of the Series in 2009 T20 World cup. Lasith Malinga with his slinging toe crushing yorkers, created problems even to the best batsmen in the world. Malinga could bowl those fiery yorkers at his will and he was nightmare in the death overs. He took 4 wickets in 4 consecutive deliveries against South Africa in 2007 World cup and again recorded a second hatrick in 2011 against Kenya. Malinga repeated the wonder of 4 wickets in 4 balls again in 2019 September against the Kiwis in a T20 match.

After the retirement of Aravinda Desilva, Ranatunga and Jayasuriya it was Mahela Jayawardane,Kumara Sangakkara and Tilakaratne Dilshan who formed the core of Lankan batting.
The stylish Jayawardane with his silken touch was a treat to watch. He was a great captain and lead from the front. In 2011 he scored a valiant century against India in the World cup finals.
Sangakkara is considered to be one of the greatest wicket keeper batsman in world cricket. He scored runs with grace and proved to be a thorn in flesh for many opponents. In 2015 World cup held in Australia, the wicket keeper batsman scored 4 consecutive centuries. The centuries came against Bangladesh, England, Australia and Scotland. Despite the great heroics of Sangakkara , Srilanka lost to South Africa in the quarter finals. In the match Srilanka was all out for 133 and the Protease chased down the target with the loss of just 1 wicket.
                                                                 Kumara Sangakkara

After the retirement of Jayawardane, Sangakkara and Dilshan Srilanka failed to find their suitable replacements and the team began to struggle.  In 2016 Asia cup their only victory came against the minnows UAE. In 2016 World T20, they lost to West Indies, England and South Africa. Their solitary win came against Afghanistan. In 2017 Srilanka managed to win just 2 out of 13 tests, 5 ODI out of 20 ODI and just 5 T20 out of 15 T20 matches. Bangladesh managed to draw the series  1-1 against Srilanka on their home soil.

Post 2016 Era

Srilanka tried to many captains in the span of 2 years. But none could find a solution to steady the ship. Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Dimesh Chandimal, Karunaratne  all found the going tough. Srilanka was whitewashed thrice in 2017 by South Africa, Pakistan and India. In the same year Zimbabwe toured the island nation and won the ODI series 3-2. In 2018 WT20 they lost to Bangladesh and Afghanistan and was eliminated.
Rangana Herath seemed to be the most effective bowler in tests during this period. But single hands can't win test matches on a regular basis and he lacked support from other ends.Srilanka failed to find enough replacements for the likes of Vaas and Muralitharan .In 2019 Srilanka showed some glimpses of their old glory when they defeated South Africa 2-0 in a two match test series in South Africa. They have achieved what most nations dreamt of achieving in recent years. Karunaratne was their captain. Kusal Perera scored an unbeaten 153* to register a thrilling 1 wicket  victory in first test of the series, when they chased down 304 in the fourth innings of the match. The second test match was won more comfortably. Srilanka won the match by 8 wickets . South Africa had scored 222 and 128 in the two innings. Srilanka in reply had scored 154 and 197/2 in the two innings. But they failed to replicate the heroics of test series in the T20 and ODI matches. They lost the the respective series on 2-0 and 5-0 margins.

2019 world cup in England was a forgettable experience for the islanders. They lost the matches against South Africa, India, New Zealand and Australia. Unfortunately their matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh were washed out. Srilanka managed to register victories against West Indies, Afghanistan and England. Their victory against the strong English side gave hopes to the Lankan fans all around the globe. It was an unexpected turn around, thanks to the heroics of the veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga.
                                                                        Lasith Malinga

In 2019 July Srilanka managed to overpower Bangladesh in an ODI series and Srilanka needs to continue the streak. They have some quality batsmen in Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Avishka Fernando, Karunaratne and so on. The bowling department also seems to be in decent arms. Isru Udana has some good length and cunning variations. Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Dhananjaya all need to step up and take the nations hopes to greater heights.


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