Cricket Article

The first Sri Lankan Test captain Bandula Warnapura dies at the age of 68

Bandula Warnapura, the first Test captain in Sri Lankan cricket history, died at a private hospital in Colombo on Monday (October 18). In a statement, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) expressed deep grief over the death of 68-year-old Bandula Warnapura. The SLC also extends its condolences to Bandula’s family during this difficult time.

In 1982, Bandula led the first Test match in the history of Sri Lanka against England. He made the first run for the country and also set a rare record by bowling the first over in the second innings. He played a total of 4 Tests and 12 ODIs for his country.

Bandula made his first-class cricket debut in 1970, against the Indian Universities cricket team. The turning point in his first-class career was his 154-run innings against the Pakistan under-25 team in the 1973-74 season.

In a four-day match that season, Bandula played a brilliant inning of 92 against the Pakistan XI. The Pakistan XI also had Test bowlers like Saleem Altaf, Asif Masood, and Intikhab Alam in that game.

The former opener made his ODI debut in the 1975 World Cup match, played against West Indies. In the next match, he scored 31 off 39 balls against a formidable pace pair like Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

In the 1979 World Cup, Sri Lanka achieved a historic victory over India under Bandula. He scored 77 runs off 98 balls, the highest of his ODI career against Pakistan in the 1981-82 season. But as the match was lost by eight wickets, his innings were in vain.

After ending his playing career, he started working in the coaching set-up of Sri Lanka. Later in 1990, Bandula got the responsibility of coaching as well. He was then appointed as the director of operations at SLC in 2000. He resigned from the SLC in 2008 and took over as the Development Manager of the Asian Cricket Council.

Following Bandula’s death, several cricketers paid tribute to him, including former Sri Lanka captains Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, and current captain Dasun Shanaka.

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