Sri Lankas performance in the recent tri- nation ODI seres brought back memories of their first tri-nation ODI series in 1984-85. The third nation then was the West Indies.
Australian cricket at the time was struggling. The end of the previous summer saw the retirement of the Big 3, Chappell G, Marsh, and Lillee. This was followed by a tour of the Caribean where we lost 3-0, then back home to face the West Indies, which resulted in us losing the first three tests, but regaining some pride in the final two, with a fighting draw in the fourth, then victory at the SCG in the fifth. That series sawthe demise of then Captain Kim Hughes, whose tearful departure after the second test was an ingnominous end to his international career.
Come the tri-nation ODI series. Unsuprisingly the West Indies won the tournament, winning all 10 qualifying matches, though they lost the first final to Australia prior to bouncing back, winning the other two finals.
Sri Lanka won only one match in the tournament, but what a win it was. It was at the MCG on Saturday January 19. Australia batted first with the two W’s opening, Wood and Wessels. They got off to a solid start puting on 68, but from there the wheels fell off. The only other decent contribution came from another W, Wayne Philips, the wicket keeper who weighed in with 67, Australia finished its 50 overs with 9-226. The best of the Sri Lankans was medium pacer, R J Ratnayake whose 10 overs netted him 4-37. This includedboth openers, netting him the man of the match award. Was Australias’ score enough ?
No it wasn’t, as the Sri Lankans came home with 4 balls to spare. P A De Silva hiting the young Craig McDermott for six off the second ball of the final over. Australias attack of McDermott, Lawson, Hogg, O’Donnell, Bennett and the slow left armers of Keppler Wessels not being able to control the visitors. The Sri Lankans, with good reason, celebrated a meritorious first win on Australian soil.
Fast forward 27 years later,and they came oh so close to claiming their first tri-nations tournament. It has been a good summer of cricket, and their role in it should be celebrated, so i thought it would be good to touch back on their first ODI win in Australia, way back in the halcyon 80′s.
Happy Labour Day weekend almanacers, and remember what this weekend stands for, and how it was achieved.