After losing all three Test matches on Australia's visit to Sri Lanka in March 2003, Sri Lanka made a winter visit for a two-Test series in the tropical north of Australia.
World record-holder Muttiah Muralitharan pulled out of his second tour of Australia after Australian Prime Minister John Howard's remarks made at a function that he was 'a chucker'.Nevertheless Murali travelled to Sydney where, with Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, he took part in promotional events to celebrate their bowling feats.
Australia easily beat Sri Lanka in the first Test match.Although leg-spinner Shane Warne created history by equalling the then world record of 527 Test wickets held by Muralitharan, the match finished in a draw with Australia falling two wickets short of victory.
Ashantha de Mel (new Chairman of Selectors, appointed May 2004), Aravinda de Silva, Lalith Kaluperuma (the previous Chairman of Selectors), Jayantha Paranathala and Roger Wijesuriya.
Previously, the selectors had appointed their captain for a single series but they asked Marvan Atapattu to lead on the tour to Australia as well as a forthcoming Asia Cup tournament in July and a visit by South Africa in August 2004 for two Test matches.
Tour party announced4 June 2004.
De Mel said: "We thought of experience for the two Tests rather than try to experiment with youngsters.”
Not selected :Two contracted players Kumar Dharmasena and Hashan Tillekeratne were not selected
Withdrawal On 15 June Muralitharan handed in a letter to Sri Lankan Cricket saying he would not tour. The selectors felt that. with two other spinners in the team, there was no need for a replacement.
Time between selection and departure from Sri Lanka
(4 June to 19 June)
The team flew out of Colombo on the morning of Saturday 19 June 2004, and had four days of acclimatisation in Darwin.
Time spent in Australia 26 days(19 June - 15 July)
To general reading of The Times newspaper digital archive (Gale Group);Jamaica Gleanor archive;National Library of Australia Trove; Papers Past NZ.
From former British Newspaper Library, Colindale and online:The Age, Melbourne Argus, Bangladesh Daily Star, Barbados Advocate, Canberra Times, Daily Telegraph, Dawn, Eastern Daily Press, The Hindu, The Independent (Dhaka), Indian Express, The Island (Lanka), Lahore Times, New Nation, New Zealand Auckland Herald, Sri Lanka Daily News, Stabroek News, Straits Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph (Calcutta), Times of India , The Tribune Chandigarh, Trinidad Guardian, The West Australian.
Magazines/periodicals including Australian Cricket, B & H West Indies Annual, The Cricketer International, Cricketer Quarterly, Indian Cricket, Indian Cricket Field Annual, Playfair Cricket Monthly, Shell Cricket Almanack of New Zealand, Wisden Cricket Monthly, Wisden Book of Test Cricket, Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack.
Men In White, A History of Australian Cricket (Harte), A History of Indian Cricket (Bose), A History of West Indies Cricket (Manley)