Sri Lanka's national cricket team achieved considerable success beginning in the 1990s, rising from underdog status to winning the Cricket World Cup in 1996, under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga. Since then, the team has continued to be a force in international cricket. The Sri Lankan cricket team reached the finals of the 2007 and 2011 Cricket World Cups consecutively. They ended up being runners-up on both occasions.
Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup in 1996 (vs Australia), the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 (co-champions with India), and the ICC T20 World Cup in 2014 (vs India). They have been consecutive runners-up in the 2007 and 2011 Cricket World Cups, and have been runners-up in the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009 and 2012. The Sri Lankan cricket team currently holds several world records, including the world record for the highest team total in Test cricket.
Main article: History of the Sri Lankan cricket team
Cricket was introduced to the island by the British as a result of the colonization and the first recorded match dates back to 1832 as reported in The Colombo Journal. By the 1880s a national team, the Ceylon national cricket team, was formed which began playing first-class cricket by the 1920s. The Ceylon national cricket team achieved Associate Member status of the International Cricket Council in 1965. Renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, the national team first competed in top-level international cricket in 1975, when they were defeated by nine wickets by the West Indies during the 1975 Cricket World Cup at Old Trafford, England.
Sri Lanka was awarded Test cricket status in 1981 by the International Cricket Conference. They played their first Test match against England at P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, on 17 February 1982. Bandula Warnapura was the captain for Sri Lanka in that match, which England won by 7 wickets. After Sri Lanka was awarded Test status on 21 July 1981 as eighth Test playing nation, they had to wait until 6 September 1985, where Sri Lanka recorded their first Test win by beating India, in the second match of the series by 149 runs at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo. They have also won the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship, defeating Pakistan in the final by an innings and 175 runs.
Sri Lanka won their first Test match under the leadership of Duleep Mendis on 11 September 1985 against India, winning by 149 runs at P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. Eventually they won the three-match Test series, 1–0. Sri Lanka had to wait more than seven years for their next series victory, which came against New Zealand in December 1992, when they won the two-match series 1–0. This was immediately followed by a one-wicket victory against England in a one-Test series.
Two years later, on 15 March 1995, Sri Lanka won their first overseas Test match under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga against New Zealand, when they beat them by 241 runs at Napier. This win also resulted in their first overseas Test series victory, 1–0. Their next series too was an overseas series, against Pakistan, and that one too resulted in Sri Lankan victory.
Sri Lanka registered their first ODI win against India at Old Trafford, England on 16 June 1979.
The 2011 Cricket World Cup Final, Sri Lankan team reached their third final in the Cricket World Cups
After many years of underdog status, Sri Lanka finally entered the limelight of the cricketing world after winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga. Meanwhile, they revolutionized modern day batting strategies by rapid scoring during the first 15 overs. Sri Lanka later became the co-champions in 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and also became six times Asian champions in 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2022.
On 11 September 1999, under the leadership of Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka won their first Test match against Australia, when they beat them by six wickets at Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy. Eventually they won the three-match Test series, 1–0.
On 14 June 2000, Sri Lanka played their 100th Test match. It was against Pakistan, at SSC, Colombo, under the leadership of Sanath Jayasuriya. Pakistan won by 5 wickets.
The first Test match of the 2012 Pakistan's Sri Lankan tour, Sri Lanka went on to win the match
On 4 August 2016, they played their 250th Test match when they played Australia in Galle. They won the match by 229 runs, and also won the Warne-Muralidharan trophy for the first time since its inception. On 17 August 2016, under the leadership of Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia 3-0 for the first time in Test cricket.
Until 2017, Sri Lanka had whitewashed Zimbabwe three times, Bangladesh once and Australia once in Test cricket.
Sri Lanka played their first day-night Test match on 6 October 2017 against Pakistan at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Under the captaincy of Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka convincingly won the match by 68 runs and sweep the series 2–0. In the match, Dimuth Karunaratne became the first Sri Lankan to score a fifty, a century and a 150 in a day-night Test. Lahiru Gamage, who debut in the match became the first Sri Lankan to take a wicket in a day-night Test, whereas Dilruwan Perera became the first Sri Lankan to take five-wicket haul in a day-night Test.