All About the Sri Lanka Cricket Team

The Sri Lanka cricket team, also known as The Lions, is run by the Sri Lanka Cricket Association. They have been Full Members of the ICC since the 21st of July, 1981.

By reading this page, you will learn all about the history surrounding cricket in Sri Lanka, the colours that they wear when playing cricket, who their current best players are, how they have been getting on at ICC tournaments and against other nations, as well how they are getting on in world cricket at the moment.

Sri Lanka Cricket History

sri lanka cricket team

There are no prizes for guessing who brought cricket to Sri Lanka. Yup, you guessed it, it was the British. It is believed that the first game of cricket was played in Sri Lanka in the early 1800s, but the first recorded match happened in 1832. Soon after, the Colombo Journal called for a cricket club to be formed, which led to the Colombo Cricket Club being formed in November that year. Not much is known about the next 50 years of cricket in Sri Lanka, but it is known that Ivo Bligh took his England team to play a warm-up game in Colombo in 1882 before they went to Australia to try and reclaim the Ashes. Six years later, an England team captained by George Vernon toured Sri Lanka, and the Australian team toured there in 1890.

By 1911, five English teams had toured Sri Lanka. In 1926, Sri Lanka played their first first-class game against the Marylebone Cricket Club in Colombo. The visiting team went on to claim an easy innings win. They got their first first-class win in 1932 when they beat Patiala in India. They were then restricted to playing against touring teams, mostly England and Australia, who used Sri Lanka as a stopover when travelling to visit each other's country. In 1945, the Indian team visited Sri Lanka, but their match was drawn due to the bad weather. After World War II, the Australian Services cricket team was the first team to tour Sri Lanka.

In 1949, the West Indies visited the country and played two first-class games. The visiting side won the first match easily, while the second one was drawn. Pakistan visited later that year for two first-class games as well. Pakistan won both matches very comfortably, but there was a decent batting display from Sri Lanka in the second match. From 1953 right up until 1976, the Sri Lanka team played a biennial first-class game against Madras (now named Tamil Nadu). India visited again in 1956 and played two first-class matches against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Both the matches ended up in a draw.

In 1964, the Sri Lanka team beat the Pakistan A team at home and then the Indian team away from home. The West Indies visited again in 1967 to play one first-class game in Colombo, the match ended in a draw. Sri Lanka wanted to press forward their claim for test status, so they wanted to tour England in 1968. Nineteen matches were scheduled from June to August, but the association in charge of Sri Lanka cricket could not pay for the trip, so donations were sought. However, the tour was cancelled when there was a huge dispute over the players that would be selected to make the trip. In 1972, Pakistan visited Sri Lanka to play one first-class match in Colombo. The match was drawn because of the weather. India toured again in 1974 and won the first game by 6 wickets. However, the remaining three matches were drawn due to bad weather. In 1975, the West Indies played two first-class matches in Sri Lanka, with both games ending in a draw.

Their first top-international cricket came in 1975 when they played in the 1975 ICC Cricket World Cup. They lost all three of their group games against the West Indies, Australia, and Pakistan very easily. The won the ICC trophy in 1979, meaning that they qualified for the 1979 Cricket World Cup that was due to be played later that year. Once again, they failed to make it out of the group stage, but they did pick up their first ODI win against a test-playing nation when they beat India. In 1981, the ICC decided that Sri Lanka had done enough in the world of cricket to be granted test status. They played their first test against England in Colombo on the 17th February, 1982. Sri Lanka recorded their first test win in 1985 when they beat India by 149 runs in Colombo. They had to wait 7 years for their first series victory, which was against New Zealand in 1992. They followed this 1-0 series win with their first test win against England. In 1995, they won their first overseas test match and series against New Zealand in Napier.

The following year, they co-hosted the Cricket World Cup. They put in a series of outstanding performances and went on to win the trophy by beating Australia in the final. In 1997, they went on to win the Asia Cup by beating India in the final by 8 wickets. The 1999 Cricket World Cup was a huge disappointment for Sri Lanka as the defending champions failed to make it out of the group stages. They have not won the Cricket World Cup again, but they were the runners-up in 2007 and 2011. However, they managed to win the Asia Cup in 2004, 2008, and 2014, making them the second most successful team in this competition behind India. They also won the T20 World Cup for the first time in 2014.

Nowadays, they are not that competitive in the test arena, which is understandable since the likes of Kumar Sangakara, Mahela Jayawardene, and Tillakaratne Dilshan no longer play international cricket. However, on their day, they can still mix it with the best in limited overs cricket, as seen by their win against England at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

"Their head coach at this moment in time is Mickey Arthur, while their test captain is Dimuth Karunaratne. Dasun Shanaka is their ODI and T20 captain."

What Colours Does the Sri Lankan Cricket Team Wear?

Test Cricket

In test cricket, the Sri Lankan players, like the players for every other team, wear cricket whites. If they are feeling cold, they can wear a white sweater with a dark blue V-neck. The national flag can be seen on the left side of the jumper, with the test cap number under it. When fielding, they will wear a deep blue cap or sunhat and the helmet they use while batting is a similar colour. The sponsor’s logo can be located on the right side of the t-shirt, while the Sri Lanka Cricket logo can be seen on the left side.

ODI and T20 Cricket

Sri Lanka’s limited over kits vary each year, but historically they are a shade of blue and golden yellow. When they are playing in ICC tournaments, the name of the country is written on the front of the shirt, with the sponsor’s logo being moved to the sleeve. When they are playing normal limited overs cricket, the national flag is on the left side of the shirt, the sponsor’s logo is on the left, and the name of the sponsors is spread out across the middle of the shirt.

Who Are Their Current Best Cricket Players?

Sri Lanka have produced some of the best players that the game has ever seen. However, we will now look at the talented players that are playing for them at this moment in time.

Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne is known as a second-innigns specialist due to the fact that he often scores many more runs in the second innings of Test matches. He is only the second Sri Lankan opener to score three centuries in one Test calendar year, with the other one being Tillakaratne Dilshan. Let us now take a look at his stats.

In the 72 test matches that he has played, he has scored 5,176 runs (12 centuries and

26 half-centuries) at an average of 38.62. In the 34 ODI games that he has played to date, he has scored 767 runs (6 half-centuries) at an average of 27.39. In the 34 T20I games that he has played, he has scored 543 runs at an average of 16.96 with a high score of 80.

Angelo Matthews

He made his debut back in 2008 and went on to become captain in all three formats of the game. He is classified as an all-rounder, but, as the stats below will show, he is more of a batsman that can deliver match-winning spells every now and then. In the 90 test matches that he has played, he has scored 6,236 runs (11 centuries and 36 half-centuries) at an average of 44.86. He has picked up 33 wickets at an average of 53.51. In the 218 ODI games that he has played, he has scored 5,835 runs (3 centuries and 40 half-centuries) at an average of 41.57. He has picked up 120 wickets at an average of 33.35 (1 5-wicket haul). In the 78 T20 matches that he has played, he has scored 1148 runs (a high score of 81*) at an average of 25.51.

Kusal Mendis

He played his first game for Sri Lanka in 2015 and the following year he was named as Sri Lanka’s Batsman of the Year. He is a talented right-handed batsman that bats at number three and clearly has a long international career ahead of him. He is just 24, but he has already played 40 tests for his country. In these 47 matches he has scored 3,022 runs (7 centuries and 11 half-centuries) at an average of 34.73. In the 79 ODI matches that he has played, he has scored 2,228 runs (2 century and 17 half-centuries) at average of 30.10. He has played 29 T20 matches and has scored 538 runs (highest score of 79) at an average of 18.55. These stats aren’t that impressive yet, but they will have improved drastically come the end of his cricketing career.

How Have Sri Lanka Performed at ICC Events?

If you are interested in finding out how Sri Lanka have performed at different ICC events over the years, then take a look at the tables below.

ICC Cricket World Cup

Year Round Position
1975 Group Stage 7/8
1979 Group Stage 5/8
1983 Group Stage 7/8
1987 Group Stage 7/8
1992 Group Stage 8/9
1996 Champions 1/8
1999 Group Stage 10/12
2003 Semi-finals 4/14
2007 Runners-up 2/16
2011 Runners-up 2/14
2015 Quarter-final 7/14
2019 Group Stage 6/9

ICC T20 World Cup

Year Round Position
2007 Super 8s 6/12
2009 Runners-up 2/12
2010 Semi-final 4/12
2012 Runners-up 2/16
2014 Champions 1/16
2016 Super 10 8/16

ICC Champions Trophy

Year Round Position
1998 Semi-final 4/9
2000 Quarter-finals 3/11
2002 Semi-final 3/12
2004 Group Stages 6/12
2006 Semi-final 3/10
2009 Group Stages 7/8
2013 Semi-final 4/8
2017 Group Stages 5/8

*This tournament was scrapped after the 2017 version as the ICC were not happy with having more than one major tournament for each format of the game.

Asia Cup

Year Round Position
1984 Runners-up 2/3
1986 Champions 1/3
1988 Runners-up 2/4
1990 Runners-up 2/3
1995 Runners-up 2/4
1997 Champions 1/4
2000 Runners-up 2/4
2004 Champions 1/6
2008 Champions 1/6
2010 Runners-up 1/4
2012 Group Stage 4/4
2014 Champions 1/5
2016 Group Stage 5/6
2018 Group Stage 6/6

How Have the Sri Lankan Cricket Team Performed Against Other Nations?

Want to find out how Sri Lanka has performed against other nations in world cricket? If so, take a look at the tables below.

Test Performances

OpponentMatches PlayedWonLostDrawTiedWin %
New Zealand3691611025.00
South Africa319166029.03
West Indies22949040.90

* These stats are correct from the 28th October 2021.

ODI Performances

OpponentMatches PlayedWonLostTiedNo ResultWin %
New Zealand9941491845.60
South Africa8033451142.40
West Indies6329310348.33

* These stats are correct from the 28th October 2021.

T20 Performances

OpponentMatches PlayedWonLosttiedNo ResultWin %
New Zealand197101141.67
South Africa218130034.37
West Indies14770050.00

How Have Sri Lanka Been Getting on in International Cricket Lately?

Sri Lanka started off the year with two tests against England, and lost the first by seven wickets and the second by six wickets. They then took on the West Indies in three T20Is and three ODIS and lost the former 2-1 and the latter 3-0. After, they played two tests against the West Indies, and both ended in a draw.

Next up were two test matches and three ODIs against Bangladesh, and they won the test series 1-0 and lost the ODI series 2-1. After this, they played three T20Is and three ODIs against England, losing the former 2-0 and the latter 2-0 as well. They then lost to India 2-1 in an ODI series and beat them 2-1 in a T20 series. They then beat South Africa 2-1 in an ODI series and lost 3-0 to them in a three-match T20 series.

They are currently taking part in the T20 World Cup and do not have any matches scheduled for the end of the year.