Sri Lanka v Australia, 3rd Test, Colombo, 5th Day March 28, 2004

Tillakaratne steps down from captaincy

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Hashan Tillakaratne tendered his resignation as Sri Lanka's Test captain after they were whitewashed at home for the first time in their history by Australia on Sunday. Tillakaratne's 10-match tenure produced only one win and four defeats, and he had been widely expected to stand down.

"I am stepping down as captain because it is high time that someone should take over and I can concentrate on my batting," Tillakaratne, 36, told reporters. "I have spoken to the selectors about how I feel about it and they have accepted my resignation. We lost the series and if someone is going to take over then this is the time to do it with so many tours coming up."

Talking about the Colombo game, which Australia won with just eight balls to spare, Tillakaratne lamented: "I thought we pushed them to the wall, but they fought back and they played very good cricket. We learnt a few lessons down the line. I thought we could have won the series, but that is how the game goes. We need to show a bit of character when the going gets tough, but we were so soft - and I am sure that we could have saved this match. You should be able to play according to the situation but we threw our wickets away at crucial stages."

He admitted: "Fielding is a big concern, and there were some soft dismissals in the first innings."

Marvan Atapattu, the current one-day captain, is expected to take over from Tillakaratne for Sri Lanka's two-Test tour of Zimbabwe in April and May. Other contenders for the job include Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas.