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Roshan Guneratne dies at 43

SRI LANKA lost its third Test cricketer with the passing away of former leg-spinner Roshan Guneratne in California, USA on Wednesday. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 43.


Roshan Guneratne

Gunaratne made his mark as a top class right-arm leg-spinner for Nalanda College whom he captained in 1982. Leaving school he made his first-class debut against Greg Chappell's Australians in the lead-up match to the one-off Test at Asgiriya, Kandy a year later.

Playing for a Board President's XI he took the wickets of Kepler Wessels and Chappell for 66 runs, a performance that convinced the selectors to include him in the Test match although there was already an established leg-spinner in Somachandra de Silva.

With two leg-spinners playing against an Australian batting line up comprising five left-handers in the top six of the order, Guneratne had an unhappy experience.

His 17 overs cost him 84 runs without any success as Australia rattled off a massive 514-4 declared to crush Sri Lanka by an innings. It was to be his sole Test appearance.

Guneratne went on to represent NCC, Moors SC and Nomads in division I domestic cricket before leaving for the USA to join his mother and sister. He remained a bachelor throughout. His funeral takes place in California today.

Sridharan Jeganathan, another leg spinner and all-rounder Anura Ranasinghe were the other Sri Lankan Test cricketers to die before Gunaratne.

The Sri Lanka cricketers wore black armbands as a mark of respect to Guneratne on the opening day of the second cricket Test against West Indies at Asgiriya yesterday. - [S.T.]

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