With T20 cricket gaining ground and the focus of fan engagement shifting to the T20 format, the 50-over format has seen a significant decline in relevance and popularity. However, it was never the same a decade ago. The One-Day International (ODI) format was much cherished and followed, with tournaments such as the World Cup held in that format. We also have some of the greatest players of all time who rose to prominence in this format.

In this article, we look at the Sri Lankan cricketers who have played the most ODIs and their records in this format.

1. Mahela Jayawardene (443 MATCHES)

It would be incorrect to talk about Sri Lankan cricket and not mention Mahela Jayawardene. Jayawardene graced the game for 18 majestic years and played 443 ODIs, the most by any Sri Lankan and the second highest ever. He amassed 12650 runs at an average of 33.37 and 19 centuries and 77 fifties with the best score of 144. On January 24, 1998, Jayawardene made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in Colombo and retired from ODI cricket in March 2015.

2. Sanath Jayasuriya (441 MATCHES)

Next on the list is one of the most aggressive and blistering openers in world cricket, Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayasuriya made his ODI debut against Australia in 1989 and played his last match in 2011 against England. He piled up 13364 runs at an average of 32.51 and picked up a staggering 320 wickets. He was indeed a multi-utility player throughout his career.

3. Kumar Sangakkara (397 MATCHES)

Kumar Sangakkara, considered one of the most elegant left-handers of all time, was of no match, and his numbers are testimony to that. He was pleasing to the eye and a delight to watch. He played 397 ODIs for Sri Lanka, the third highest to date. Having made his ODI debut back in 2000, Sangakkara continued to play until 2015 and scored 13,975 runs, the highest for any Sri Lankan batter, at an average of 41.96. Apart from his batting, Sangakkara was a prolific wicket-keeper and took 482 dismissals, the highest ever in ODIs.

4. Mutthiah Muralidharan (343 MATCHES)

Talk of the art of spin bowling and you have Muralidharan in your imagination. That is the kind of aura he created. He represented Sri Lanka in ODIs from 1993 to 2011 in a total of 343 matches. Muralidharan is the only Sri Lankan bowler to have scalped 500 wickets in ODIs and, with 523 wickets to his name; he is also the highest wicket taker in ODIs. He did so at an average of 23.07 with an economy of less than four. He also picked up a 10 wicket haul with his best figures of 7 for 30.

 5. Tillakaratne Dilshan (330 MATCHES)

 The fiery and blistering opening batter, Tillakaratne Dilshan, is next on the list. From 1999 to 2016, Dilshan played for Sri Lanka in 330 ODIs and scored 10290 runs at an average of 39.27. In the 2011 World Cup, he was the highest run scorer, with 500 runs to his name at an incredible average of 62.50, which helped Sri Lanka reach the final. He also has 106 wickets to his name, which shows his all-round skills.

 6. Chaminda Vaas (321 MATCHES)

 Chaminda Vaas is the only fast bowler to make the cut on this list. The fact that he is on the list justifies his stature as a bowler. He was sharp, accurate, and spot-on with his line and length. Vaas represented Sri Lanka in ODIs for 15 years and played 321 matches, a remarkable feat for any fast bowler. He picked up 399 wickets at an average of 27.45 and an economy of 4.18.

 7. Aravinda De Silva (308 MATCHES)

Next, we have the star of the 1996 World Cup winning campaign of Sri Lanka, Aravinda de Silva. Silva was a critical member of Sri Lanka’s ODI setup during the 90s. He played in ODIs for Sri Lanka from 1984 to 2003 and featured in 308 matches. He scored 9284 runs at an average of 34.90 and also took 106 wickets with the ball.

8. Arjuna Ranatunga (269 MATCHES)

 The World Cup-winning captain of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga, holds a special place in the hearts of Sri Lankan fans. He was known for his leadership, attitude, and, of course, his batting. The way he led his team was certainly an example for everyone. He represented Sri Lanka in ODIs from 1982 to 1999, gathering 7456 runs at an average of 35.84 and also picking up 79 wickets as a part-time bowler.

9. Marvan Atapattu (268 MATCHES)

 With a shaky start to his international career, former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the country's most trusted openers. Having made his ODI debut in 1990, Atapattu played until 2007, complementing his ferocious partner, Sanath Jayasuriya. He made 8529 runs at an average of 37.57 in 268 matches. He had, to his name, eleven hundred by the time he retired.

10. Upul Tharanga (234 MATCHES)

Another opening batter to feature on the list is Upul Tharanga. Tharanga was a pure entertainer because of his attacking batting style and sublime strokeplay. From 2005 to 2019, Tharanga represented Sri Lanka in 234 ODIs, scoring 6941 runs at an average of 33.85 and also getting 15 centuries to his name, the fifth highest for any Sri Lankan batter.