The Sri Lanka World Cup Squad
Sri Lanka began their campaign towards achieving International Cricket Council (ICC) Test status when they made their One Day International (ODI) debut in England on this day (June 7), exactly 46 years ago.
Sri Lanka captained by Anura Tennekoon made an inauspicious start to their goal of achieving international recognition as they were beaten by the ultimate champions West Indies by nine wickets in the fourth match of the Prudential World Cup at Manchester.
The Sri Lankan batsmen were all at sea against the fearsome West Indies’ fast bowling attack as they folded up for just 86 runs in 37.2 overs after they were invited to bat first by Clive Lloyd.
The three-prong pace attack of Andy Roberts, Bernard Julien and Keith Boyce played havoc with the Sri Lankan batting line-up under favourable conditions at Old Trafford while sharing nine wickets between them.
No doubt, it turned out to be a fire of baptism for the Sri Lankans as they made a determined effort to make an impact on the international stage for the first time against heavy odds.
The Sri Lankan openers Ranjit Fernando and Bandula Warnapura just could not give their side a good start even though the latter held on well for a total of 54 deliveries for his eight runs.
Warnapura, who struck the first boundary for Sri Lanka in ODIs, was not prepared to surrender meekly as the solid right-hander battled for more than one hour before he was fourth out with the score at 21.
Man-of-the-Match Julien did the early damage by removing the wicket-keeper batsman Ranjit Fernando and Tennekoon for a four-ball duck as Sri Lanka slumped to five for two at that stage.
Thereafter, David Heyn survived for 12 deliveries before he became Roberts’ first victim while Michael Tissera held on for 35 deliveries before he was dismissed for a stubborn 14 runs, which included one boundary.
The introduction of Boyce into the attack brought further disaster to Sri Lanka as Duleep Mendis, Anura Ranasinghe and Mevan Peiris all fell cheaply in the space of seven runs.
All-rounder Ranasinghe of course, was only 18 at that time and was the second youngest player of the 1975 World Cup after Pakistan’s Javed Miandad who represented the country at 17.
Sri Lanka collapsed to 42 for seven at one stage and they were in real danger of being bowled out for under 50 runs in this 60-over contest.
However, the Sri Lankan tailenders batted with more purpose as they contributed a valuable 42 runs with number 10 Somachandra de Silva making a top score of 21 inclusive of two boundaries.
The right-hander, who was better known for his leg-breaks, played a crucial innings with the bat facing 54 deliveries before he was last-man out against the seam of Vanburn Holder.
De Silva then went on to make his presence felt on the field by claiming the only wicket of the West Indies’ innings with his eight overs costing him 33 runs.
Left-hand opener Roy Fredericks smashed four boundaries during his 38-ball 33 before he offered a catch to Warnapura with the West Indies total at 52.
Thereafter, wicket-keeper batsman Deryck Murray and diminutive left-hander Alvin Kallicharran completed the formality while adding 35 for the unfinished second-wicket to register an emphatic victory.
The Sri Lankan opening bowlers Tony Opatha and Mevan Pieris were far too expensive and were taken off early while off-spinner Lalith Kaluperuma bowled an economical spell of 6.4 overs for 17 runs.