Sri Lanka is one of the countries that have taken to the game of Cricket like naturals. The history of the bat-and-ball sport began when Britain colonized the island country in South Asia. The first Cricket match that was recorded in Sri Lanka was in 1832; however, the first class Cricket match was played in Sri Lanka in 1905.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Sri Lanka was occupied by the British. Back then, the island country was known by another name: Ceylon. The island country was taken under the control of British East India Company as far back as 1796. This was after France was defeated.
Ceylon became a crowned colony in 1802. The British introduced the fantastic game of Cricket to Ceylon. The first time Cricket was mentioned was in a report printed in the Colombo Journal of 5 September 1832. The report also called for the formation of a Cricket Club. After that, the Colombo Cricket Club was founded, and Cricket matches began subsequently.
It is said that the first Cricket match in Ceylon was played in 1800, though the first recorded official Cricket match was played in 1832. Cricket was also exclusively reserved for European settlers and their visitors. But the game began to attract the attention and fascination of the Ceylonese who were often called up to augment the numbers in the teams.
However, the first indigenous or local Cricket competition in Sri Lanka was played in 1938. Twelve Cricket teams vied for daily news trophy. But in 1988-89, it was referred to as First Class Cricket. It was also in 1988-89 that the first limited overs Cricket competition was held in Sri Lanka in which only four Cricket teams participated.
The popularity of Cricket soared in Sri Lanka throughout the 20th century and was nearly in every nook and corner of the nation when the Cricket team won their first major victory in international cricket. This feat occurred in Cricket World Cup of 1979.
The name “Ceylon” was officially replaced with “Sri Lanka” on 22 May 1972. On 21st July 1981, Sri Lanka was given full affiliation or membership of the ICC (International Cricket Council). It was also awarded the status of the test-playing team and became the eighth nation to play Test Cricket. This was after the impressive performance of Sri Lanka in two Cricket matches against Pakistan in 1973-74.
A.H. Kardar, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan was so impressed with Sri Lanka that he prevailed on the International Cricket Council to contemplate promoting Sri Lanka to Test category or status.
The maiden test was played in Colombo in February 1982, though England won the match.
The Sri Lankan national Cricket team appeared on the world stage for the first time in top-class international cricket at the Cricket World Cup held in England in 1975. It was an outing that ended in disappointment as they were defeated by the West Indies who bowled them out for no more than 86 runs.
But Sri Lanka made an excellent impression in the minds of their fans as they performed well in their match against Australia which they lost by 52 runs after they had scored 276 for 4 in response to Australia’s 328 for 5.
But Sri Lanka improved significantly and went ahead to win the 1979 ICC Trophy, the 1996 Cricket World Cup as well as the ICC World Twenty20 in 2014.