Tillakaratne quits as Sri Lankan skipper after series loss to Australia
Sun March 28, 2004 10:17 EST .
JOHN PYE - AP Sports Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Hashan Tillakaratne quit as Sri Lankan cricket captain Sunday, immediately after Australia beat his lineup in Colombo to become the first touring lineup to sweep a three-test series in Sri Lanka - . But the 36-year-old lefthander salvaged his batting position with an unbeaten 74 in Sri Lanka - 's first innings in the third test at Sinhalese Sports Club.
After his dismissal for 17 in the second innings, trapped lbw by Jason Gillespie, Sri Lanka - lost four wickets for four runs and was all out for 248 chasing 370 to win.
``It's high time someone else took over. I want to concentrate on my batting ... I'm still available for selection,'' he said. ``I don't want to block opportunities for someone who wants to be the captain.''
Vice-captain Marvan Atapattu scored 118 in the first innings his first test hundred against Australia and emerged as the most likely successor for Tillakaratne as skipper. Atapattu is captain of Sri Lanka - 's limited-overs squad.
Tillakaratne's record as captain wasn't brilliant. His only win in 11 tests was the series-deciding third test against England in December. He was involved in four losses and six draws.
Tillakaratne said Sri Lanka - had chances against Australia but didn't take them.
``I think we pushed them again, but again they fought back very well,'' he said. ``They played very good and competent cricket in the series and we learned a lot of lessons from them we just couldn't finish it off.''
He said Muttiah Muralitharan's series haul of 28 wickets proved good bowling worked against the Australians, but that Sri Lanka - 's bowling depth wasn't strong enough to finish them off.
``As usual, Murali bowled very well, but we lacked support for him.''
Tillakaratne has scored 11 centuries and 20 half centuries in 83 tests since his debut against Australia in 1990. He made 172 runs in six innings this series against the Australians.
Published: Sun Mar 28 17:19:35 EST 2004