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150th Test - an occasion to celebrate

The fact that Sri Lanka are playing their 150th Test match within a period of 24 years after receiving Test status from the International Cricket Council (ICC) is in itself an achievement.

Along the trodden path towards this historic Test Sri Lanka cricket has had many ups and downs not only on the field but more so off it that today we find the game being administered by a Sports Minister appointed interim committee.

If one delves into the recent past this is nothing new in Sri Lanka cricket administration. We've had four interim committees within the past six years and this is not a good sign for the development of the game at grassroot level.

While our cricket administration has become the laughing stock of the whole world, thankfully our cricket has not been affected by it.

The concept of bringing in a foreign coach for the national team which was pioneered by former president of the Cricket Board Gamini Dissanayake in the early eighties was used in a more professional way by Ana Punchihewa, another former president 15 years later which has seen Sri Lanka's cricketing stocks rise in the world.

Even today that trend continues and we have a new coach handling the national side Tom Moody. He is the fourth coach within the past ten years to take charge of the team, the first being Dav Whatmore who was followed by Bruce Yardley and then John Dyson. The common factor among these four coaches is that they are all past Australian Test cricketers.

Although Sri Lanka's cricket was still in its infancy in the eighties its administration was on par with some of the best in the world compared to what it is today. Dissanayake foresaw the team's requirements to be on equal terms with other established Test nations.

He was instrumental in bringing coaches in the caliber of Sir Garfield Sobers, Peter Philphott and Don Smith to assist the national team besides local coaches like Abu Fuard, W.A.N. Silva and Ranjit Fernando. Even a reputed psychologist Dr. Rudi Webster was brought in to work on the mental aspect of the cricketers. Ted Dexter, the former England captain was one time assigned the task of being public relations consultant to the national team and there was also Khan Mohammed, the former Pakistan cricketer as the fast bowling coach.

After achieving Test status which was granted by the ICC after eight long years of being pushed from pillar to post, Sri Lanka cricket gained quick strides that by the 14th Test match they had already recorded their maiden Test victory (against India) and by the 20th a Test win over Pakistan. Indian captain Kapil Dev incensed by bad umpiring decisions against his team vowed that Sri Lanka would never win a Test outside the country. Kapil's words remained true for close upon ten years when Sri Lanka finally broke the ice in 1995 by beating New Zealand at Napier by 241 runs.

The wins over India and Pakistan came pretty close to each other in 1985-86 and Sri Lanka had to wait for another six years before recording another Test win.

Unlike at present where the ICC has a Test championship running in which all the countries are given equal opportunities of playing each other on a home and away basis, Sri Lanka had to plead for Test matches being the minnows at that time. The situation in the country at that time from 1983 to 1991 also did not allow for frequent tours and Sri Lanka lost out on many Test matches as a result.

England hardly raised a hand to help granting them just five one-off Tests for 17 years before they finally agreed to give a three-Test series in 2001.

Australia on the contrary were slightly better inviting Sri Lanka for a two-Test series in 1989 and then coming here for three Tests three years later.

It is an achievement that despite all these obstacles we have averaged around six Tests a year. Playing 150 Test matches are milestones in a country's history that must be appropriately highlighted because these are special significant events. For instance the inaugural Test between Sri Lanka and England at the Saravanamuttu Stadium in February 1982 was witnessed by high profile officials, which gave significance to the occasion.


150th Test match - how other countries fared

Sri Lanka has every chance of coming up with a better performance than their two Asian counterparts India and Pakistan who lost their respective 150th Test match in their countrys' history.

India led by the controversial figure of Bishen Singh Bedi were outplayed by England in their 150th Test played at the famous Chepauk Stadium in Madras in January 1977 losing by a margin of 200 runs.

In a low scoring game where the highest total was England's first innings score of 262, India were dismissed for 164 and 83. John Lever ran through their batting in the second innings and after England had set them 283 for victory in the fourth innings they succumbed to the wiles of left-arm spinner Derek Underwood who took three of the top four wickets for 28 runs. England was led by all-rounder Tony Greig whose team went onto win their first rubber in India since 1933-34.

Pakistan also suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their 150th Test match played at Auckland in 1985 losing by an innings and 99 runs. The pace of Richard Hadlee, Lance Cairns and Ewan Chatfield undid the Pakistanis led by Javed Miandad.

The trio accounted for 18 wickets as Pakistan were shot out for 169 and 183. New Zealand anchored by John Reid's unbeaten 158 and half centuries from John Wright and Martin Crowe ran up an impressive 451-9 decl. The match marked the Test debut of Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram. He took two wickets for 105 bowling 34 overs.

Only two countries have managed to celebrate their 150th Test with a win. Australia defeated England by 111 runs at Melbourne in the Bodyline series in 1932-33. Ironically it was to be Australia's only win of the five-match series, as they were routed 4-1 by Douglas Jardine's men.

It was a low scoring Test where Australia's first innings of 228 was the highest ever made in the match. Don Bradman scored his only century of the series an unbeaten 103 in the Australian second innings of 183. England was routed by the medium-paced high-bouncing leg-break and googlies of Bill O'Reilly who took five wickets in each innings for match figures of ten for 129.

New Zealand's 150th Test happened to be against a depleted Sri Lankan side hit by a breakaway rebel group to South Africa. On a seaming Basin Reserve pitch at Wellington, Sri Lanka put up a brave front to gain a first innings lead of 39 runs mainly due to the fine bowling efforts of Rumesh Ratnayake and Vinothan John who took nine wickets between them.

But their capitulation for 93 in the second innings to the pace and seam of Hadlee, Snedden and Chatfield left New Zealand chasing a mere 134 for victory which they achieved losing four wickets. No New Zealand batsmen made a fifty (highest being 47 n.o. by Bruce Edgar) in the bowler-oriented match although for Sri Lanka Ranjan Madugalle played a classy knock of 79 and acting captain Somachandra de Silva made a gutsy 61.

England, South Africa and West Indies all drew their 150th Test matches. Sri Lanka who became the eighth Test-playing nation in 1981, will play its 150th Test match when they meet West Indies at the SSC grounds today with skipper Marvan Atapattu hoping to outdo his predecessors Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya who failed to win the country's 50th Test (drawing with West Indies at Moratuwa in 1993) and 100th Test (losing to Pakistan by five wickets at SSC in 2000) respectively.

Scores of 150th Test matches of other countries:

* England v Australia at Lord's in 1926. Drawn. Captain: A.W. Carr.

Australia 383 (W. Bardsley 193 n.o.) and 194-5 (C.G. Macartney 133 n.o.)

England 475-3 dec. (J.B. Hobbs 117, H. Sutcliffe 82, F.E. Woolley 87, E.H. Hendren 127 n.o., A.P.F. Chapman 50 n.o.).

* AUSTRALIA v England at Melbourne in 1932-33. Won by 111 runs. Captain: W.M. Woodfull.

Australia 228 (J.H.W. Fingleton 83) and 191 (D.G. Bradman 103 n.o.)

England 169 (H. Sutcliffe 52, W.J. O'Reilly 5 for 63) and 139 (W.J. O'Reilly 5 for 66).

* SOUTH AFRICA v Australia at Sydney in 1963-64. Drawn. Captain: T.L. Goddard.

Australia 260 (R.B. Simpson 58, B.C. Booth 75, P.M. Pollock 5 for 83) and 450-9 dec. (W.M. Lawry 89, N.C. O'Neill 88, R. Benaud 90, G.D. McKenzie 76, J.T. Partridge 5 for 123)

South Africa 302 (T.L. Goddard 80, R.G. Pollock 122, K.C. Bland 51) and 326-5 (T.L. Goddard 84, A.J. Pithey 53 n.o., K.C. Bland 85).

* WEST INDIES v England at Georgetown in 1974. Drawn. Captain R.B. Kanhai.

England 448 (D.L. Amiss 118, A.W. Greig 121, A.P.E. Knott 61)

West Indies 198-4 (R.C. Fredericks 98).

* INDIA v England at Madras in 1976-77. Lost by 200 runs. Captain: B.S. Bedi.

England 262 (J.M.Brearley 59, A.W. Greig 54) and 185-9 dec. (B.S. Chandrasekhar 5 for 50)

India 164 (J.K. Lever 5 for 59) and 83.

* NEW ZEALAND v Sri Lanka at Wellington in 1983. Won by six wickets. Captain: G.P. Howarth.

Sri Lanka 240 (R.S. Madugalle 79, D.S. de Silva 61) and 93. New Zealand 201 (V.B. John 5 for 60) and 134-4.

* PAKISTAN v New Zealand at Auckland in 1984-5. Lost by an innings and 99 runs. Captain: Javed Miandad.

Pakistan 169 and 183 (Mudassar Nazar 89)

New Zealand 451-9 dec (J.G. Wright 66, J.F. Reid 158 n.o., M.D. Crowe 84).

Test	Year	Opponent	Venue		Captain	Result
1	1982	England	Sara Stadium	B. Warnapura Lost by 7 wkts
2	1982	Pakistan	Karachi		B.Warnapura Lost by 204 runs
3	1982	Pakistan	Faisalabad		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
4	1982	Pakistan	Lahore		B. Warnapura Lost inns & 102 runs
5	1982	India	Madras		B. Warnapura Drawn
6	1983	New Zealand Christchurch	D.S. de Silva Lost inns & 25 runs
7	1983	New Zealand Wellington	D.S. de Silva Lost by 6 wkts
8	1983	Australia	Kandy		L.R.D. Mendis Lost inns & 38 runs
9	1984	New Zealand Kandy		L.R.D. Mendis Lost by 165 runs
10	1984	New Zealand SSC		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
11	1984	New Zealand CCC		L.R.D. Mendis Lost inns & 61 runs
12	1984	England	Lordís		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
13	1985	India	SSC		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
14	1985	India	Sara Stadium	L.R.D. Mendis Won by 149 runs
15	1985	India	Kandy		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
16	1985	Pakistan	Faisalabad		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
17	1985	Pakistan	Sialnot		L.R.D. Mendis Lost by 8 wkts
18	1985	Pakistan	Karachi		L.R.D. Mendis Lost by 10 wkts
19	1986	Pakistan	Kandy		L.R.D. Mendis Lost inns & 20 runs
20	1986	Pakistan	CCC		L.R.D. Mendis Won by 8 wkts
21	1986	Pakistan 	Sara Stadium	L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
22	1986	India	Kanpur		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
23	1986	India	Nagpur		L.R.D. Mendis Lost inns & 106 runs
24	1987	India	Cuttack		L.R.D. Mendis Lost inns & 67 runs
25	1987	New Zealand CCC		L.R.D. Mendis Drawn
26	1988	Australia	Perth		R.S. Madugalle Lost inns & 108 runs
27	1988	England	Lordís		R.S. Madugalle Lost by 7 wkts
28	1989	Australia	Brisbane		A. Ranatunga Drawn
29	1989	Australia	Hobart		A. Ranatunga Lost by 173 runs
30	1990	India	Chandigarh	A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 8 runs
31	1990/1	New Zealand Wellington	A. Ranatunga Drawn
32	1991	New Zealand Hamilton		A. Ranatunga Drawn
33	1991	New Zealand Auckland		A. Ranatunga Drawn
34	1991	England	Lordís		P.A. de Silva Lost by 137 runs
35	1991	Pakistan	Sialkot		P.A. de Silva Drawn
36	1991	Pakistan	Gujranwala		P.A. de Silva Drawn
37	1992	Pakistan	Faisalabad		P.A. de Silva Lost by 3 wkts
38	1992	Australia	SSC		A. Ranatunga Lost by 16 runs
39	1992	Australia	R. Premadasa	A. Ranatunga Drawn
40	1992	Australia	Moratuwa		A. Ranatunga Drawn	
41	1992	New Zealand Moratuwa		A. Ranatunga Drawn
42	1992	New Zealand SSC		A. Ranatunga Won by 9 wkts
43	1993	England 	SSC		A. Ranatunga Won by 5 wkts
44	1993	India	Kandy		A. Ranatunga Drawn
45	1993	India	SSC		A. Ranatunga Lost by 235 runs
46	1993	India	Sara Stadium	A. Ranatunga Drawn
47	1993	South Africa Moratuwa		A. Ranatunga Drawn
48	1993	South Africa SSC		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 208 runs
49	1993	South Africa Sara Stadium	A. Ranatunga Drawn
50	1993	West Indies Moratuwa		A. Ranatunga Drawn
51	1994	India	Lucknow		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 119 runs
52	1994	India	Bangalore		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 95 runs
53	1994	India 	Ahmedabad	A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 17 runs
54	1994	Pakistan	Sara Stadium	A. Ranatunga Lost by 301 runs
55	1994	Pakistan	Kandy		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 52 runs
56	1994	Zimbabwe	Harare		A. Ranatunga Drawn
57	1994	Zimbabwe	Bulawayo		A. Ranatunga Drawn
58	1994	Zimbabwe	Harare		A. Ranatunga Drawn
59	1995	New Zealand Napier		A. Ranatunga Won by 241 runs
60	1995	New Zealand Dunedin		A. Ranatunga Drawn
61	1995	Pakistan	Peshawar		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 40runs
62	1995	Pakistan	Faisalabad		A. Ranatunga Won by 42 runs
63	1995	Pakistan	Sialkot		A. Ranatunga Won by 144 runs
64	1995	Australia	Perth		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 36 runs
65	1995	Australia	Melbourne		A. Ranatunga Lost by 10 wkts
66	1996	Australia	Adelaide		A. Ranatunga Lost by 148 runs
67	1996	Zimbabwe	R. Premadasa	A. Ranatunga Won inns & 77 runs
68	1996	Zimbabwe	SSC		A. Ranatunga Won by 10 wkts
69	1997	New Zealand Dunedin		A. Ranatunga Lost inns & 36 runs
70	1997	New Zealand Hamilton		A. Ranatunga Lost by 120 runs
71	1997	Pakistan	R. Premadasa	A. Ranatunga Drawn
72	1997	Pakistan	SSC		A. Ranatunga Drawn
73	1997	West Indies Antigua		A. Ranatunga Lost by 6 wkts
74	1997	West Indies St Vincent		A. Ranatung Drawn
75	1997	India	R. Premadasa	A. Ranatunga Drawn
76	1997	India	SSC		A. Ranatunga Drawn
77	1997	India	Chandigarh	A. Ranatunga Drawn
78	1997	India	Nagpur		A. Ranatunga Drawn
79	1997	India	Bombay		A. Ranatunga Drawn
80	1998	Zimbabwe	Kandy		A. Ranatunga Won by 8 wkts
81	1998	Zimbabwe	SSC		A. Ranatunga Won by 5 wkts
82	1998	South Africa Cape Town	A. Ranatunga Lost by 70 runs
83	1998	South Africa Centurion		A. Ranatunga Lost by 6 wkts
84	1998	New Zealand R. Premadasa	A. Ranatunga Lost by 167 runs
85	1998	New Zealand Galle Stadium	A. Ranatunga Won inns & 16 runs
86	1998	New Zealand SSC		A. Ranatunga Won by 164 runs
87	1998	England 	Oval, London	A. Ranatunga Won by 10 wkts
88	1999	India	SSC		A. Ranatunga Drawn
89	1999	Pakistan	Lahore		H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
90	1999	Pakistan	Dhaka		P. A. de Silva Lost inns & 175 runs
91	1999	Australia	Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 6 wkts
92	1999	Australia	Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
93	1999	Australia	SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
94	1999	Zimbabwe	Bulawayo		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
95	1999	Zimbabwe	Harare		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 6 wkts
96	1999	Zimbabwe	Harare		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
97	2000	Pakistan	Rawalpindi		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 2 wkts
98	2000	Pakistan	Peshawar		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 57 runs
99	2000	Pakistan	Karachi		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 222 runs
100	2000	Pakistan	SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 5 wkts
101	2000	Pakistan	Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Lost inns & 163 runs
102	2000	Pakistan	Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
103	2000	South AfricaGalle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya  Won inns & 15 runs
104	2000	South Africa Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 7 runs
105	2000	South Africa SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
106	2000	South Africa Durban		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
107	2001	South Africa Cape Town	S.T. Jayasuriya Lost inns & 229 runs
108	2001	South Africa Centurion		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost inns & 7 runs
109	2001	England	Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Won by inns 28 runs
110	2001	England	Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 3 wkts
111	2001	England	SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 4 wkts
112	2001	India	Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 10 wkts
113	2001	India	   Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 7 wkts
114	2001	India	   SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Won inns & 77 runs
115	2001	Bangladesh SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Won inns & 137 runs
116	2001	West Indies Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 10 wkts
117	2001	West Indies Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 131 runs
118	2001	West Indies SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 10 wkts
119	2001	Zimbabwe	SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Won inns & 166 runs
120	2002	Zimbabwe	Kandy		S.T. Jayasuriya Won inns & 94 runs
121	2002	Zimbabwe	Galle Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 315 runs
122	2002	Pakistan	Lahore		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 8 wkts
123	2002	England	Lordís		S.T. Jayasuriya Drawn
124	2002	England	Edgbaston		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost inns & 111 runs
125	2002	England	Manchester		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 10 wkts
126	2002	Bangladesh Sara Stadium	S.T. Jayasuriya Won inns & 196 runs
127	2002	Bangladesh SSC		S.T. Jayasuriya Won by 288 runs
128	2002	South Africa Johannesburg	S.T. Jayasuriya Lost inns & 64 runs
129	2002	South Africa Centurion		S.T. Jayasuriya Lost by 3 wkts
130	2003	New Zealand Sara Stadium	H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
131	2003	New Zealand Kandy		H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
132	2003	West Indies St. Lucia		H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
133	2003	West Indies Jamaica		H.P. Tillakaratne Lost by 7 wkts
134	2003	England	Galle Stadium	H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
135	2003	England	Kandy		H.P. Tillakaratne Drawn
136	2003	England	SSC		H.P. Tillakaratne Won inns & 215 runs
137	2004	Australia	Galle Stadium	H.P. Tillakaratne Lost by 197 runs
138	2004	Australia	Kandy		H.P. Tillakaratne Lost by 27 runs
139	2004	Australia	SSC		H.P. Tillakaratne Lost by 121 runs
140	2004	Zimbabwe	Harare		M.S. Atapattu     Won inns & 240 runs
141	2004	Zimbabwe	Bulawayo		M.S. Atapattu     Won inns & 254 runs
142	2004	Australia	Darwin		M.S. Atapattu     Lost by 149 runs
143	2004	Australia	Cairns		M.S. Atapattu     Drawn
144	2004	South Africa Galle Stadium	M.S. Atapattu     Drawn
145	2004	South Africa SSC		M.S. Atapattu     Won by 313 runs
146	2004	Pakistan	Faisalabad		M.S. Atapattu     Won by 201 runs
147	2004	Pakistan	Karachi		M.S. Atapattu     Lost by 6 wkts
148	2005	New Zealand Napier		M.S. Atapattu     Drawn
149	2005	New Zealand Wellington	M.S. Atapattu     Lost inns & 38 runs

[compiled by Saíadi Thawfeeq]



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