World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

History of cricket in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka national cricket team has played Test cricket from 1982. Domestic first-class cricket began in 1988.


  • Beginnings 1
  • Early developments 2
  • International cricket 3
  • Domestic cricket 4
    • Premier Trophy 4.1
    • Premier Limited Overs tournament 4.2
    • Leading players by season 4.3
      • Batsmen 4.3.1
      • Bowlers 4.3.2
  • Pre-Test era International tours of Sri Lanka 5
    • Australia 5.1
    • England 5.2
    • India 5.3
      • 1945 5.3.1
      • 1956–57 5.3.2
      • 1973–74 5.3.3
    • New Zealand 5.4
    • 1937 5.5
      • 1984–85 5.5.1
    • Pakistan 5.6
      • 1948–49 5.6.1
      • 1972–73 5.6.2
      • 1975–76 5.6.3
      • 1978–79 5.6.4
    • West Indies 5.7
      • 1948–49 5.7.1
      • 1966–67 5.7.2
      • 1974–75 5.7.3
      • 1978–79 5.7.4
    • Zimbabwe 5.8
      • 1983–84 5.8.1
    • Multi-national teams 5.9
      • 1930–31 5.9.1
      • 1949–50 5.9.2
      • 1950–51 5.9.3
      • 1967–68 5.9.4
  • Test, ODI & T20 series 6
    • Test 6.1
    • One-day International 6.2
    • Twenty20 6.3
  • See also 7
  • References 8
    • Further reading 8.1
  • External links 9


Cricket was brought to the nation when it was colonized by the English. The first recorded cricket match was played in the country as for back as 1832. although the country then known as Ceylon was playing first class cricket in 1905,it was in the 1975 inaugural world cup that they made their international debut. They were humbled here losing to the west Indies by 9 wickets. They did however, turn heads at the same tour name at wit an excellent display in their match against Australia. Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, has an age-old civilization. It came under European influence and control after Dutch colonists arrived in the 17th century; although the interior hilly region of the island remained independent for over a century with its capital at Kandy. The British East India Company established control of the island in 1796, using war with France as its excuse for commandeering Dutch territory. Ceylon was declared a Crown Colony in 1802, but the island was never to be officially connected with British India. The fall of the kingdom of Kandy in 1815 unified the island under British rule.

As everywhere that the British arrived in numbers, cricket soon followed and it is reasonable to assume that the game was first played on the island by 1800.

Ceylon was renamed Sri Lanka in 1972

Early developments

The earliest definite mention of cricket in Ceylon was a report in the Colombo Journal on 5 September 1832 which called for the formation of a cricket club. The Colombo Cricket Club was formed soon afterwards and matches began in November 1833 when it played against the 97th Regiment.[1]

In October 1882, George Vernon toured Ceylon and India, including an 11-a-side game against All-Ceylon at Kandy. In 1890, the Australian team en route to England played in Colombo.

First-class cricket in Ceylon became restricted to games against visiting touring teams, notably the English and Australian teams who used Ceylon as a stopover on the long voyage to each other's country. Douglas Jardine's infamous "bodyline team" was there in 1932–33. Occasionally, teams representative of Ceylon played matches abroad, especially in India.

From 1953–4 until 1975-6, the Ceylon Cricket Association played a first-class match against Madras (latterly renamed Tamil Nadu) for the Gopalan Trophy. This fixture was played in Colombo roughly every two years, with one further fixture in 1982-3, alternating with the fixture being held in Madras.

International cricket

Throughout the 20th century, the game became increasingly popular in Sri Lanka and the national team won the ICC Trophy in 1979. On 21 July 1981, Sri Lanka was admitted to full membership of the ICC and was awarded Test Match status. The inaugural Test was played at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo in February 1982 against England but Sri Lanka lost by 8 wickets.

Sri Lanka won the 1996 Cricket World Cup by defeating Australia.

Sri Lanka won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 by defeating India.

Domestic cricket

Premier Trophy

In 1938, the first domestic competition was established when 12 teams competed for the Daily News Trophy.[3] The tournament's title was changed to the P Saravanamuttu Trophy in 1950–51 and then the Robert Senanayake Trophy in 1976–77. After Sri Lanka began playing Test cricket in 1982, the inevitable sponsors came on board and the tournament was rebranded as the Lakspray Trophy for the 1988–89 season when, for the first time, it was designated first-class.

Subsequently, the title of P Saravanamuttu Trophy was resurrected from 1990 and since 1998 it has been called the Premier Trophy.

The Sinhalese Sports Club has won the tournament a record 29 times to 2006.

For a full list of winners from 1938, see : Premier Trophy.

Premier Limited Overs tournament

The first limited overs cricket tournament in Sri Lanka was the Brown's Trophy in 1988–89.[4] Only four teams competed in the inaugural competition: Sinhalese Sports Club (winners); Nondescripts Cricket Club (runners-up); Galle Cricket Club; Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club. The tournament was renamed the Hatna Trophy in 1990–91 and then given its current name Premier Limited Overs Tournament in 1998–99.

The competition to date has been dominated by three teams: Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club has won five times; Sinhalese Sports Club and Nondescripts Cricket Club have won four times each.

For a full list of winners from 1988, see : Premier Limited Overs Tournament.

Leading players by season

The lists below give the leading runscorers and wicket–takers in each domestic season.


  • 1988–89 – DSBP Kuruppu – 339 @ 113.00 (HS 126)
  • 1989–90 – WAA Wasantha – 519 @ 57.66 (HS 134)
  • 1990–91 – UNK Fernando – 656 @ 65.60 (HS 160)
  • 1991–92 – MC Mendis – 551 @ 78.71 (HS 177*)
  • 1992–93 – PA de Silva – 591 @ 53.72 (HS 143)
  • 1993–94 – MAR Samarasekera – 701 @ 50.07 (HS 191)
  • 1994–95 – MS Atapattu – 1302 @ 93.00 (HS 181)
  • 1995–96 – RP Arnold – 1430 @ 79.44 (HS 217*)
  • 1996–97 – RS Kaluwitharana – 1172 @ 73.25 (HS 179)
  • 1997–98 – MS Atapattu – 868 @ 96.44 (HS 223)
  • 1998–99 – TM Dilshan – 1027 @ 51.35 (HS 194)
  • 1999–00 – DA Gunawardene – 711 @ 41.82 (HS 140)
  • 2000–01 – RPAH Wickramaratne – 830 @ 51.87 (HS 139)
  • 2001–02 – DPMD Jayawardene – 1426 @ 89.12 (HS 274)
  • 2002–03 – SKL de Silva – 938 @ 42.63 (HS 133)
  • 2003–04 – TM Dilshan – 1284 @ 51.36 (HS 151)
  • 2004–05 – S Kalavitigoda – 885 @ 49.16 (HS 152)
  • 2005–06 – WMG Ramyakumara – 993 @ 62.06 (HS 150*)
  • 2006–07 – BARS Priyadarshana – 822 @ 43.26 (HS 140)
  • 2007–08 – NT Paranavitana – 1059 @ 81.46 (HS 236)
  • 2008–09 – AD Mathews – 1038 @ 79.84 (HS 270)
  • 2009–10 –AD MATHEWS


  • 1988–89 – SD Anurasiri – 24 @ 13.12 (BB 8–53)
  • 1989–90 – KPJ Warnaweera – 71 @ 13.47 (BB 7–16)
  • 1990–91 – FS Ahangama – 39 @ 14.89 (BB 5–44)
  • 1991–92 – GP Wickramasinghe – 38 @ 13.10 (BB 10–41)
  • 1992–93 – CM Hathurusingha – 35 @ 16.65 (BB 8–40)
  • 1993–94 – AMN Munasinghe – 46 @ 16.43 (BB 9–38)
  • 1994–95 – SD Anurasiri – 78 @ 15.67 (BB 8–90)
  • 1995–96 – M Jayasena – 67 @ 21.41 (BB 5–72)
  • 1996–97 – ADB Ranjith – 70 @ 16.40 (BB 9–29)
  • 1997–98 – UC Hathurusingha – 35 @ 16.17 (BB 7–55)
  • 1998–99 – PP Wickramasinghe – 76 @ 13.01 (BB 8–47)
  • 1999–00 – D Hettiarachchi – 55 @ 15.09 (BB 5–20)
  • 2000–01 – S Weerakoon – 80 @ 12.97 (BB 7–51)
  • 2001–02 – M Muralitharan – 87 @ 13.47 (BB 9–51)
  • 2002–03 – PN Ranjith – 69 @ 17.10 (BB 6–27)
  • 2003–04 – M Muralitharan – 96 @ 14.40 (BB 7–46)
  • 2004–05 – S Weerakoon – 52 @ 20.80 (BB 7–81)
  • 2005–06 – SADU Indrasiri – 60 @ 13.55 (BB 7–61)
  • 2006–07 – RMGK Sirisoma – 60 @ 15.50 (BB 7–42)
  • 2007–08 – BAW Mendis – 68 @ 10.51 (BB 7–37)
  • 2008–09 – S Weerakoon – 71 @ 20.35 (BB 7–40) and S Prasanna – 71 @ 20.70 (BB 8–59)
  • 2009–10 –

Pre-Test era International tours of Sri Lanka


Several Australian teams stopped and played matches in Ceylon while traveling to England and back.

In the aftermath of World War II, came the Australian Services cricket team in Ceylon and India in 1945-46, featuring Keith Miller who scored a century in Colombo. Miller returned as part of the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 which played a game in Colombo during a stopover on their voyage to England.

It was not until 1969–70 that another Australian team arrived in Ceylon. This team played one first-class match against the national Ceylon team before going on to India for a five-Test series.

The 1981 Australians to England played a match in Colombo against Sri Lanka only months before Sri Lanka achieved Test status.

During Sri Lanka's Test era, there have been five Australian tours of the country, four of which featured Test cricket. The visitors in 1996 were there to make up the numbers in a One Day International (LOI) tri-series against India and Sri Lanka. Australia reached the final of the tri-series but lost by 50 runs to Sri Lanka.


By 1911, there had been five English teams in Ceylon. Those were led by 1889–90; WG Grace in 1891–92; Lord Hawke in 1892–93; and Andrew Stoddart in 1894–95. The Bligh, Grace and Stoddart teams were en route to Australia while the Vernon and Hawke ventures took in Ceylon as part of visits to India.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) teams have visited on no less than 23 occasions since 1911–12, most recently in 2000–01.

Other teams sent from England have been Sir Julien Cahn's XI cricket team in Ceylon in 1936-37, DH Robins' XI cricket team in Sri Lanka in 1977-78 and English cricket team in India in 1984-85. The latter was a very short stopover by the England team en route to India.

The England national cricket team has played four Test series in Sri Lanka: 1981–82, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2003–04 and 2007.


The first Indian team to tour Sri Lanka was Elphinstone College, Bombay, in 1903–04.[5]


The India national cricket team visited Ceylon in April 1945 and played one first-class match versus Ceylon at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo.

The match was drawn on account of bad weather. India's team was a strong one captained by Vijay Merchant and including notable players such as Shute Banerjee, Mushtaq Ali, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi.


India visited Ceylon in November 1956 and played two first-class international matches versus Ceylon at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo:

  • 1st international – match drawn
  • 2nd international – match drawn

The Indian team was captained by Polly Umrigar and included Nari Contractor, Subhash Gupte, Pankaj Roy, A. G. Kripal Singh and Vijay Manjrekar.


India toured Sri Lanka in January and February 1974. India played two first-class and two limited overs matches versus Sri Lanka and two further first-class matches versus the Sri Lanka Board president's XI. India defeated Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground by 6 wickets but the other three first-class games were impacted by the weather and were drawn.

New Zealand


All-Ceylon made 227 for 8 wickets with De Saram top scoring with a typical brick by brick innings of 90. Douglas Dias Jayasinha was the first man from the Southern Province to play for All Ceylonwho was an opening batsman was held back by S. Saravanamuttu the skipper, who felt it was too much of a gamble to risk sending the young man in, that early. He was a free scoring batsman at the time and since there was overnight rain on the SSC grounds they wanted a more sedate start than what D.D. promised. This they got through George Hubert and Louis Mendis. Eventually Jayasinha made his way to the wicket at the fall of the fifth wicket and made a patient yet uncharacteristic 24 runs in 45 minutes to help Derrick de Saram at the other end towards his mammoth individual score. In reply, New Zealand made 177 for 5 wickets with Vivien 68 not out and Walter Hadlee, father of Richard, himself making 18. That team also consisted of such well-known names as Martin Donnelly and Mervyn Wallace, all of whom had done so well in England just a few weeks before.


New Zealand played two limited overs internationals versus Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won the first match by 4 wickets and New Zealand won the second by 7 wickets.



The Pakistan national cricket team visited Ceylon in August 1949 to play two first-class matches versus Ceylon. Both games were played at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. Pakistan, captained by Mohammad Saeed, won the first match by an innings and 192 runs, Saeed himself top-scoring with 93. The great Pakistan bowler Fazal Mahmood took 4–15 as Ceylon were bowled out for only 95 in their second innings. Pakistan won the second match by 10 wickets despite some good batting by Ceylon in their first innings.


Pakistan visited Sri Lanka in November 1972 to play a single first-class match versus the Sri Lanka national team at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. The match was drawn after being affected by rain. Pakistan, captained by Intikhab Alam, scored 262–8 declared and 48–3 declared. Sri Lanka scored 133 and 120–3.


Pakistan toured Sri Lanka in January 1976 to play three first-class and two limited overs matches. Sri Lanka surprisingly won the opening first-class match at Colombo Cricket Club Ground by 4 wickets and then Pakistan won the second match at the same venue by the same margin. In between, Pakistan played the Sri Lanka Board president's XI at Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy and they won this by 7 wickets.


Pakistan, captained by Majid Khan, visited Sri Lanka in April 1979 to play a limited overs match versus the Sri Lanka national team. The match at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium was won by Pakistan by 55 runs after scoring 164–8 in their 40 overs. Sri Lanka in reply could only manage 109–8.

West Indies


The West Indies cricket team visited Ceylon in February 1949 and played two first-class matches versus Ceylon. West Indies won the first match at Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo by an innings and 22 runs after scoring 462–2 declared with centuries by Allan Rae, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott. Prior Jones took ten wickets in the match. The second match at the same venue was drawn, Rae making another century for West Indies.


West Indies visited Ceylon in January 1967 and played a single first-class match at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo versus Ceylon. The match was drawn. West Indies was captained by Gary Sobers who scored 115 in his team's only innings. Other centuries were scored by Basil Butcher and Clive Lloyd.


West Indies visited Sri Lanka in February 1975 as part of a wider tour of India and Pakistan. Captained by Clive Lloyd, West Indies played two first-class matches against Sri Lanka, that were both drawn, and a limited overs match that West Indies won by 8 wickets.


West Indies visited Sri Lanka in February 1979. The main first-class match with Sri Lanka at Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo was drawn. West Indies had previously drawn a warm-up game against Sri Lanka Board president's XI at Colombo Cricket Club Ground. West Indies also played three limited overs matches.



The Zimbabwe national cricket team toured Sri Lanka in December 1983. At this time, Sri Lanka had just achieved Test status but Zimbabwe had not. The Zimbabwe team played two first-class matches versus Sri Lanka Board president's XI at Tyronne Fernando Stadium and a Sri Lankan XI at Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium. Both games were drawn. Zimbabwe also played three limited overs matches against the Sri Lankan XI.

Multi-national teams


The Maharajkumar of Vizianagram (aka "Vizzy") raised a team that toured Ceylon in December 1930 and played three first-class matches against a team called Dr J Rockwood's Europeans XI at the Nomads Ground in Victoria Park, Colombo. The tourists won the first game by an innings & 259 runs. The other two games were drawn. Vizzy's team included some notable players, including the England opening partnership of Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe. Several good Indian players were involved, including CK Nayudu and Mushtaq Ali.


A George Pope.


Another Commonwealth XI cricket team visited Ceylon in February and March 1951. The team played two matches at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo against an All-Ceylon XI and against a Ceylon-India-Pakistan Combined XI. The tourists won the second match by 120 runs; the first match was drawn. Captained by Les Ames, who also kept wicket, the team had several well-known players including Frank Worrell, Derek Shackleton, Sonny Ramadhin and Jack Ikin.


An International XI cricket team toured Ceylon, India and Pakistan during the winter of 1967–68 and played one match in Ceylon versus the Ceylon Board president's XI at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. The International XI won by 194 runs. The team consisted of Mickey Stewart (captain), Roger Tolchard (wk), Derek Underwood, Dennis Amiss, Keith Fletcher, Khalid Ibadulla, Harold Rhodes, Gamini Goonesena, Ken Suttle, Harry Latchman and Mike Denness. Ceylon had no answer to the guile of Underwood, who produced outstanding figures of 8–10 and 7–33.

Test, ODI & T20 series


One-day International


See also


  1. ^ See CricInfo re this club and its ground; see also Bowen
  2. ^ Chris Harte: A History of Australian Cricket, p.128; see also Bowen
  3. ^ See CricketArchive
  4. ^ See CricketArchive
  5. ^ N. S. Ramaswami, From Porbandar to Wadekar, p.6

Further reading

External links

  • Brief History by CricInfo
  • Tournaments in Sri Lanka by CricketArchive
  • History of Sri Lanka Cricket
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.