I became interested in Sri Lankan cricket in early 1978, as a Sri Lankan team led by Anura Tennakoon toured Bangladesh for a month.
Sri Lanka have begun the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy off the wrong foot, as they got skittled for 144 on the first day at the Gabba.
The Lions now face an uphill task if they are to succeed in Australia, where they have lost 11 and drawn two Tests so far. However, despite the winless record, eight different Sri Lankan batsmen have scored a Test hundred each in Australia. Here is a look back at those instances.
Aravinda de Silva (167), Brisbane, 1989-90
De Silva became the first Sri Lankan to hit a Test century in Australia in the course of his brilliant innings of 167 in this drawn first Test at the Gabba.
He came in when Sri Lanka were 3/114 in reply to Australia’s 367, and went on to bat for 491 minutes before being last out at 418, after having faced 361 balls and hit 17 fours and a six.
On the way, he shared in a seventh-wicket stand of 144 with Ravi Ratnayeke (56).
Hashan Tillakaratne (119), Perth, 1995-96
Sri Lanka were trounced by an innings and 36 runs in the opening Test of their first three-Test series in Australia. After being dismissed for 251, Sri Lanka conceded a gargantuan 5/617. Had it not been for Tillakaratne, who struck 119 in 206 balls from number six in the second innings, the margin of defeat would have been even higher.
The left-hander batted for 267 minutes, and struck 12 fours.
Asanka Gurusinha (143), Melbourne, 1995-96
This Boxing Day Test is mainly remembered for controversy, as off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled for throwing. Having amassed 6/500, Australia bowled Sri Lanka out for 233 and 307 before winning by ten wickets.
A silver lining for the visitors was Gurusinha’s 143 in the second innings. Batting at number three, the southpaw faced 274 balls in a 353-minute stay that featured 15 fours and a six.
Sanath Jayasuriya (112), Adelaide, 1995-96
The trend continued in the final Test as, for the third time in a row, there was a second-innings hundred by a Sri Lankan batsman in a losing cause.
This time it came from the left-handed Jayasuriya, who occupied the crease for 272 minutes in scoring 112 off 188 balls, lit with 14 fours and two sixes, in Sri Lanka’s chase of 401.
Australia took a lead of 185 after piling up 502/9, which yielded a 148-run victory.
Marvan Atapattu (133), Cairns, 2004
The gutsy Atapattu played a captain’s knock of 133 to anchor the Sri Lankan innings after Australia had racked up a total of 517 in this second Test of a two-match series at the Cazaly’s Stadium.
His effort, which consumed 268 balls and 337 minutes, and included 19 fours, laid the base for Sri Lanka’s response of 455. The match was drawn after Sri Lanka survived a scare to end at 183/8 in a chase of 355.
Mahela Jayawardene (104) and Kumar Sangakkara (192), Hobart, 2007-08
In a familiar occurrence, Australia ran up a big total – 5/542 – after electing to bat. Sri Lanka could only muster 246 in reply, with captain Jayawardene scoring a fluent 104.
Jayawardene came in at 2/54 and was the last man out after batting for 267 minutes, during which he faced 194 balls and hit 13 fours. Australia batted again, and left Sri Lanka with more than five sessions to deal with a hefty target of 507.
Sri Lanka made a bold attempt in the fourth innings, with the cornerstone of the chase being a fine 192 from Kumar Sangakkara. The stylish left-hander was in his element as he went past de Silva’s 167 to record the highest score by a Sri Lankan in Australia.
He faced 282 balls for his 429-minute knock, which was laced with 27 fours and a six, and was ninth out at 364. Sri Lanka eventually lost by 96 runs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (147), Hobart, 2012-13
Opening the innings after Australia had scored 5/450, Dilshan held the fort even as the score slid to 4/87.
He found support in Angelo Mathews (75), with whom he put on 161 for the fifth wicket to stage a recovery, and proceeded to score 147 from 273 balls.
His innings took 413 minutes, and included 21 fours. But Australia took the last five wickets for only 47 to gain a lead of 114, before going on to win by 137 runs.
Roarers, do you think there will be an addition to the list this time?