The Sri Lankan national cricket team is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test, One-Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) playing status. The team was awarded the Test status in 1982, which made it the eighth Test cricket-playing nation. The team is administered by the Sri Lanka Cricket.
The success of Sri Lankan cricket in the past two decades has been underscored by the batting of Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Marvan Atapattu and Tillakaratne Dilshan, backed up by the bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and many other talented cricketers.
Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup in 1996, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 (co-champions with India), and the ICC T20 World Cup in 2014. They were runners-up of the 2007 and 2011 Cricket World Cups consecutively, and of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009 and 2012. The Sri Lankan cricket team currently holds several world records, including that for the highest team total in Test cricket.
Sri Lanka at ICC World Cups
In the first five World Cup tournaments (1975 to 1992), Sri Lanka could not even go past the group stage. But in 1996, starting off as underdogs under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga, they went on to win the Cricket World Cup, hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Since then, the team has continued to be a force in international cricket.
In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, hosted by England and Netherlands, defending champions Sri Lanka again played under the captaincy of Ranatunga. Most of 1996’s winning members — Jayasuriya, Muralitharan, Mahanama, Hashan, Kaluwitharana, Vaas, De Silva, Pramodya and Chandana were part of the 1999 team, too. But Sri Lanka could again not go past the group stage.
In the 2003 Cricket World Cup, hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Jayasuriya led the team. In the quarterfinals, they were beaten by Australia and India and won against Zimbabwe. They lost to Australia in the semi-finals which ended their campaign.
West Indies hosted the 9th Cricket World Cup in 2011, and Sri Lanka were led by Mahela Jayawardena. In the semi-final, Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand but lost to Ricky Ponting-led Australia in the final.
India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka jointly hosted the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The Kumar Sangakkara-led Sri Lankan side defeated England in quarterfinals and New Zealand in the semi-finals to meet MS Dhoni’s India cricket team in the final. In the finale, Jayawardene scored a century to propel his team's total to 274/6. India had a shaky start, with Sehwag and Tendulkar both dismissed early by Malinga, and the them struggling at 31 for two. Kohli and Gautam Gambhir put together an 83-run partnership before Kohli's dismissal. Gambhir went on to score 97 runs, while Dhoni went on to score an unbeaten 91. Sri Lanka lost their second consecutive ODI World Cup final.
The 2015 World cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, had an Angelo Mathews-led Sri Lankan team participating. In the quarterfinals, Sri Lanka lost to South Africa after failing to defend a poor total of 133 runs. With this match, Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena ended their ODI careers.
The Sri Lankan national cricket team began with the formation of the Colombo Cricket Club in 1832. By the 1880s, a national team, the Ceylon national cricket team, was formed. The team began playing first-class cricket by the 1920s. The Ceylon national cricket team achieved the ICC associate member status in 1965. Renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, the national team first competed in top-level international cricket in 1975, playing against West Indies in the 1975 Cricket World Cup. West Indies won the match by 9 wickets at Old Trafford, Manchester, England.
After Sri Lanka was awarded the Test status on 21 July 1981 as the eighth Test-playing nation, they had to wait until 6 September 1985 to see their first Test win. They had defeated India.
Sri Lanka registered their first ODI win at Manchester, England, on 16 June 1979, against India. They won the 1996 Cricket World Cup, were co-champions of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, and also became Asian champions on five occasions — in 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008 and 2014.
Sri Lanka played their first Twenty20 International (T20I) match at the Rose Bowl, on 15 June 2006, against England, winning the match by 2 runs. In 2014, they won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, defeating India by 6 wickets.
As of July 2018, Sri Lanka had faced nine teams in Test cricket — only recent Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland were missing from their list of opponents — with their most frequent opponent being Pakistan, against whom they had played 51 matches.
Among the usual major ODI nations, Sri Lanka have defeated England most number of times (34). Sri Lanka have competed against 13 countries in T20Is, and played 15 matches against New Zealand. They have defeated Australia and West Indies 6 times each. Sri Lanka reached World Twenty20 finals three times.
As of July 2018, Sri Lanka had played 272 Test matches, winning 86 of them, losing 101, and drawing 85. They had played 816 ODI matches, winning 376 and losing 399; five matches were tied and 36 had no result. Sri Lanka had played 108 T20I matches, won 54, lost 52, 1 tied, and 1 ended with no result.
From 8 July 2017 to 23 October 2017, Sri Lanka lost twelve consecutive ODI matches, which was their second-longest losing run in ODIs. In the meantime, Sri Lanka was whitewashed 5-0 thrice — by South Africa, India and Pakistan — in 2017.