Captaining one’s national team is a moment of pride and honor for any cricketer, especially in Test cricket. Sri Lanka is one of the premier Test playing nations and has had some great Test captains over the years who have contributed to the team’s progress. Here, in this article, we look at some of the longest-serving Test captains for Sri Lanka and their records in the most challenging format.
1. Arjuna Ranatunga (56 Matches)
Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain and one of its most decorated leaders of all time, is on the top of the list. During his Test captaincy tenure from 1989 to 1999, Ranatunga led the team in 56 Test matches, the highest for any Sri Lankan captain in Test cricket. The team won 12 matches under his captaincy, losing 19, and drawing 25.
2. Sanath Jayasuriya (38 Matches)
Sanath Jayasuriya, one of Sri Lanka’s premier all-rounders and a fantastic captain, is next to feature on the list. He was the captain of the Test team from 1999 to 2002 in 38 Test matches. The Sri Lankan team won 18, lost 12, and drew eight games under his captaincy. By the time Jayasuriya gave up the captaincy, he had a win percentage of 47.36 in Test matches, one of the best for any Sri Lankan captain.
3. Mahela Jayawardene (38 Matches)
Mahela Jayawardene, a right-handed middle-order batter from Colombo, is next on the list. Jayaeardene was Sri Lanka’s best batter during the 2000s and a crucial member of the team. He had all the qualities of a leader and hence got to captain the Sri Lankan Test team from 2006 to 2013 in 38 matches. The team won 18 Test matches under his captaincy with a win percentage of 47.36.
4. Angelo Mathews (34 Matches)
Angelo Mathews, the all-time Sri Lankan great, also features on the list. Mathews’ stint as captain of the Test team spanned from 2013 to 2017 and he fared decently. He was made the captain of the Test side after Jayawardene gave up the role in 2013. Mathews captained the team in 34 Test matches, winning 13 with a win percentage of 38.23.
5. Dimuth Karunaratne (24 Matches)
Dimuth Karunaratne, the current Sri Lankan Test captain and one of the world’s finest Test batters, is next on the list. Dimuth is a left-handed opening batter and was given the captaincy role for the first time in 2019. Until now, Dimuth has captained the Test team in 24 games and has won ten, lost eight, and drew six, with a win percentage of 41.66.
6. Dinesh Chandimal (19 Matches)
Dinesh Chandimal, a right-handed wicketkeeper batter and a member of the current Sri Lankan Test team, is next on the list. From 2017 to 2021, Chandimal captained Sri Lanka in 19 Test matches and won four, lost ten, and drew five. However, due to his inconsistent performances and other reasons, Chandimal was dropped from the side several times, which cost him his captaincy role.
7. Duleep Mendis (19 Matches)
Duleep Mendis, a right-handed middle-order wicketkeeper batter, is next to feature on the list. Duleep had a pretty short Test career of 24 matches, but he made a significant impact on the team. In 19 of the 24 games that Duleep played, he was the captain of the team. The team won two, lost eight, and drew nine games under his captaincy.
8. Marvan Atapattu (18 Matches)
Marvan Atapattu made his Test match debut in 1990 and served his country for 18 years before retiring in 2007. He was an excellent batter and one of Sri Lanka’s most trusted openers, with an average of more than 39. He also got the opportunity to captain the Test team in 18 matches and won eight, lost six, and drew four, with a win percentage of around 45.
9. Kumar Sangakkara (15 Matches)
Kumar Sangakkara, one of Sri Lanka’s best wicketkeeper batters and highest run scorers, is next on the list. Sangakkara was a batter par excellence and his numbers are proof of that. Nonetheless, he also got an opportunity to lead his national team in Test matches. He captained Sri Lanka in 15 Test matches, winning five, losing three, and drawing seven.
10. Tillakaratne Dilshan (11 Matches)
Next on the list is Tillakaratne Dilshan, an aggressive and blistering right-handed opener. Dilshan was made the Test captain in 2011 after Sangakkara stepped down. He captained the team briefly from 2011 to 2012 in 11 matches. The team, however, won only a single game under his captaincy before he gave up the captaincy in 2012.