After criticism of Sri Lanka's
performance in the 1987 World Cup, Duleep Mendis resigned the captaincy and
made himself unavailable for selection. Having been captain since 1982, he
needed a break from the tension of international cricket to devote more time
to family and his business interests. Ranjan Madugalle was appointed skipper
for the Benson & Hedges one-day international series in Australia and
the tour's solitary Test match.
Only eight members of the
1987 World Cup squad were taken to Australia.Sri Lanka's most experienced
batsman apart from Mendis, Roy Dias, was dropped. Instead he successfully
skippered the Sri Lankan 'B' team in Zimbabwe. Coach Don Smith spoke
out against the poor fielding in the World Cup when the selectors had opted
for experience. Chief selector Ian Pieris said he was now looking for youth,
fitness and good fielding.
The Sri Lankans were being
deprived at this time of competitive domestic cricket because of political
turmoil at home. The socialist JVP (or People's Liberation Front) launched an
insurrection against the ruling United National Party which brought chaos to
the south at the same time as the Government was fighting the LTTE in the
north. 1987 was the "Year of the Bomb" and during the Insurgency
1987-91 Sri Lanka
undertook 17 overseas tours (for ODIs as well as Tests) but hosted not a
single team visiting the island.
The two four-day games played
on this tour provided inadequate preparation for a Test match and the batsmen
were clearly unused to building long innings. During the 1987-88 winter Sri Lanka
played 14 ODIs but only this solitary Test. The Australian authorities were
right in doubting that the Sri Lankans would attract paying spectators; the
Perth Test saw the lowest attendance at a Test match in Australia for
100 years. On a poor pitch, they lost heavily.
After the Perth Test,
the tour party returned in two batches: ten members returned via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on 18 February
(Fernando, Mahanama, Tillekeratne, Kuruppu, Samarasekera, Asoka de Silva,
Amalean, Ramanayake, Kaluperuma).Eight members returned via Singapore on Saturday 20 February
(Fuard, Madugalle, Ranatunga, de Alwis, Aravinda, Labrooy, Jeganathan,
The team were then to go to Bangladesh
for the Asia Cup series, to be played between 22-28 February, but the
tournament was cancelled because of political unrest.
general reading of The Times newspaper
digital archive (Gale Group);Jamaica
Gleanor archive;National Library of
Australia Trove; Papers Past NZ.
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.
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’
White, A History of Australian Cricket (Harte), A History of Indian Cricket
(Bose), A History of West Indies Cricket