The Fantastico Duo of Sri Lankans who I grew up adoring! - Part III
In this concluding part of ‘The Fantastico Duo of Sri Lankans who I grew up adoring!’ I will enlist a player who is perhaps the best batsman that the island nation has ever produced (though some might have a thing or two to say to that comment) and a batsman who, though very limited in his talent was still a main-stay and a lynchpin of the Lankan middle order right through the 1990’s.
Aravinda De Silva
Aravinda is considered the greatest batsman that the little emerald isle has produced. He produced several savage knocks and left a deep impact on the game, not only in Sri Lanka but across the globe. He was at his very best during the 1996 World Cup and he produced one memorable knock after another. He was known for his cuts and hook shots and he played them with ridiculous ease.
He blazed away to a 47 ball 66 in the Semi Finals against India when Sri Lanka were 1-2 at Eden Gardens before laying in to the Australians to score a match winning innings of 107*. This was after he had a stellar day in the field picking up 3 wickets and 2 catches. He last played for Sri Lanka in the 2003 World Cup and batted with the same verve and audacity that he was known for. Unfortunately he could not produce another match winning innings as Sri Lanka crashed out at the Semi Final stage against Australia.
He was no less of a test player and boasted of several high profile innings both in Sri Lanka and abroad. His highest test score of 267 was scored against New Zealand at Wellington. I also remember that he scored a quick-fire 152 in England that had helped Sri Lanka beat England in England for the first time. He scored a double ton in his last match against Bangladesh. He was also a very reliable fielder and a handy off break bowler who had a golden arm and provided regular breakthroughs whenever required.
Roshan was an integral part of the Sri Lankan side in the 1990's and though he has only a modest record to show as a batsman he was one of their main strengths in the middle order.
He could stabilise the ship when required and had a good technique. He was also one of the most athletic fielder of that time and I remember seeing him take some great flying catches. He was one of their main pillars during their successful campaign of 1996 World Cup.
Although he averaged less than 30 in both tests and ODI's but I feel that his contribution was much more than what numbers could ever suggest. He was also a great match referee and just retired last year to spend more time with his family.