Sidath Wettimuny: 10 interesting facts about the man who opened the batting in Sri Lanka’s first-ever Test

Sidath Wettimuny, born August 12, 1956, was former opening batsman of Sri Lanka in both Test and One-Day Internationals (ODI) and represented his nation during 1982-1987. On his 59th birthday, Abhishek Kumar looks at 10 interesting fact about the versatile cricketer who could have achieved more with his talent.

 

1.  Composed ODI debut

On February 13, 1982, Wettimuny made his One-Day International (ODI) against England at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground. It was a 45-over match in which Sri Lanka won the toss and invited England to bat first. England posted 211 on the board and, in reply, Lanka were 92 for four in which Wettimuny scored an elegant 46. Sri Lanka fought till the last over of the match but lost by five runs.

 

2.  Part of Sri Lanka’s first Test team

Though Sri Lanka played their first international cricket in 1926, it took a long period of 56-years to get Test status —the eighth nation to attain the honour. Wettimuny was part of the inaugural Test match for Sri Lanka. Unlike his ODI debut, he couldn’t replicate the same in his Test debut. It was, however, an uneventful moment for him personally as he failed to get into double digits in both innings.

 

3.  Sri Lanka’s first Test centurion

After losing their first two Test matches on their home soil, Wettimuny scored a brilliant 157 in the second Test against Pakistan on March 14, 1982. He thus became the first Sri Lankan to make a century in Tests. With Roy Dias, he added 217 run for second wicket.

 

4.  First Lankan to hit century at Lord’s

In Sri Lanka’s inaugural appearance at Lord’s, as wickets kept falling at regular intervals, Wettimuny came 10 runs of a coveted double hundred. Although the match ended in a draw, three Sri Lankan batsmen — Duleep Mendis, Amal Silva and Wettimuny —scored centuries on their debuts at Lord’s.

 

 

5.  Wisden Cricketer of the Year

 

In the process of scoring 190 at Lord’s, Wettimuny  batted for 642 minutes. His brilliance at Lord’s made Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1985 —the first Sri Lankan to get this honour.

 

6.  Cricketing brothers

Wettimuny has two siblings — Sunil and Mithra. All three represented Sri Lanka in international cricket. Both Sidath and Mithra opened the batting for Sri Lanka in two Tests in the early 1983. The first time when two brothers opened batting in a Test inning was in early 1880 — WG Grace and EM Grace.

 

7.  Post retirement

After retirement from international cricket, Wettimuny debuted as a match referee in September 1997 in match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand at Harare. Later he went on to become the selector of Sri Lankan cricket.

 

8.  Monk at heart

Since Wettimuny is a pure vegetarian and a true Buddshist. he was also seen singing in a Buddhist video called Danno Budunge.

 

 

9.  Espousing social cause

March 28 is also known as day for Earth Hour between 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m organised by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). During this time everyone is expected turn off their non-essential lights for one hour. Wettimuny was also one of those big names who took pledge to this social cause and requested to turn on hearts and helps in saving light.




10.  Jewellery business

Wettimuny’s family owns a jewellery shop in Colombo. But the best gem in the Wettimuny is the cricketing gem — SidhathWettimuny!

 

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed at abhicricket.kumar and abhishekkr2593)