Marvan Atapattu timeline November 20, 2007

A rollercoaster ride

Cricinfo staff

Marvan Atapattu, one of Sri Lanka'a longest-serving cricketers, announced his retirement after an eventful tour of Australia, which came nearly two years after his last Test appearance. After a horror start in his first three Tests, he found his mojo in 1997, and then led Sri Lanka in both Tests and ODIs before a series of back injuries and a tumultuous relationship with the selectors resulted in sporadic appearances for the national team. Cricinfo looks back at his rollercoaster career.



Marvan Atapattu overcame a terrible start in 1990-91 to finish with Test 5502 runs at 39.02, including an amazing six double-centuries © AFP

Test debut, Chandigarh, November 1990
Atapattu makes his Test debut in November 1990, just after his 20th birthday, in a one-off Test against India. Bags a pair, but the worst is yet to come for him in Tests.

ODI debut, Nagpur, December 1990
In his first one-day international, on the same tour of India, Atapattu remains unbeaten on 8 from 4 deliveries, batting at No. 9, as Sri Lanka go down by 19 runs.

Colombo, August 1992
Gets a second Test nearly two years after his horror debut and makes a first-ball 0 and 1, bowled both times by Australian offspinner Greg Matthews. Faces just three deliveries in the entire Test.

Ahmedabad, February 1994
Atapattu's Test career looks to have derailed before it can start as he notches up two more ducks against India. His first six Test innings yield five ducks and a single.

Sharjah, April 1997
Batting at No.3 in an ODI against Pakistan, Atapattu scores 94 in a match-winning stand with Aravinda de Silva. His form in the 50-over game helps him keep his place in the Tests.

Colombo, August 1997
Atapattu's form improves with a maiden ODI hundred against India in a tense, two-run win. This innings all but secures his berth for the return tour later in the year.

Chandigarh, November 1997
After being persisted with for six additional Tests in the year, Atapattu returns to the scene of where it all began so horribly seven years earlier and scores his maiden century, as opener, in a draw. His 108 beats his previous best of 29 by some margin.

Mumbai, December 1997
Misses a second hundred in the series by two runs in the third Test against India but has done enough to secure his place as opener in the five-day game.

Kandy, January 1998
Atapattu goes big, scoring the first of his six double-centuries with 223 against Zimbabwe in an eight-wicket win. In his 13th Test, Atapattu looks a far more confident and technically solid product and provides a solid partner to the sashaying Sanath Jayasuriya.



Atapattu rushes to the pavilion after guiding Sri Lanka to victory with an unbeaten 132 at Lord's © Getty Images

Lord's, August 1998
Apatattu plays the one-day innings of his life, at the home of cricket, in the final of a limited-overs series. Set 257 to win, Atapattu guides Sri Lanka home in 47.1 overs with an effortless unbeaten 132 from the No. 3 spot. He ends up Man of the Series.

Bulawayo, November 1999
Atapattu ends another 13-match lean phase, which included just two half-centuries, with a second double-hundred against Zimbabwe, this time at home. He bats 627 minutes and 437 deliveries for an unbeaten 216, with 24 fours. Sri Lanka score 428 and the match is drawn. His reputation as a stonewaller builds.

Karachi, February 2000
His unbeaten match-winning 119 on a tricky Karachi surface in the series opener sets the tone for a whitewash of the hosts in a three-match ODI series. Atapattu shepherds the entire batting order for 48 overs, as only one other batsman gets more than 34.

Kandy, July 2000
Carries his bat a second time for his third double. His unbeaten 207 consumes 649 minutes and 457 balls and Sri Lanka score 467 for 5 in 155.4 overs, spread out over three days, in a weather-hit Test against Pakistan. Adds 335 for the first wicket with Jayasuriya.

Galle, February 2001
Another double-century, unbeaten as well, but this time Sri Lanka win. Atapattu buckles down for 201 out of 470 for 5 as the hosts beat England by an innings and 28 runs.

Colombo, September 2001
Follows up a fine 108 in a series-winning third Test against India with 201 from 259 balls, before retiring hurt, in a big win over Bangladesh.

Benoni, December 2002
A classy unbeaten 123, from 121 balls, seals a seven-wicket win against a South African attack that includes Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock. His assured presence at the top finishes the chase of 258 in 41.4 overs.



Under Marvan Atapattu's strong leadership, Sri Lanka's fortunes looked up. Among their triumphs were the Asia Cup and the Indian Oil Cup © AFP

Durban, March 2003
Batting first in a do-or-die World Cup match, Sri Lanka get to 268 thanks mainly to 32-year-old Atapattu's 129-ball 124. His powerful and crisp driving through the cover region is a feature of his innings as he strokes 18 boundaries. The match is tied and Sri Lanka go through to the next round.

April 2003
After standing as Jayasuriya's understudy for three years, Atapattu is appointed to lead the one-day side. He is expected to take charge of the Test team as well, but the selection committee appoints Hashan Tillakaratne for that job.

December 2003
Atapattu is embroiled in the cash-in-the-bedroom affair in which a match-fixing investigation is initiated after a large sum of cash is discovered in the safe of the hotel room he occupies during England's tour. He strenuously denies any connection with the £7000 found in Kandy.

January 2004
The ICC clears Atapattu of any wrongdoing and the likeliest explanation for the mystery remains a crude attempt to blacken his reputation. Atapattu is reappointed ODI captain for an upcoming visit by Australia and is told that he will eventually take over the mantle from Tillakaratne.

April 2004
As expected, he is named Sri Lanka's new Test captain, at 33. This comes 12 months after he is given ODI leadership. Tillakaratne resigns following Sri Lanka's 3-0 whitewash by Australia and Atapattu's first assignment is a tour to Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo, May 2004
Scores 249 from 324 balls, in a 438-run second-wicket partnership with fellow double-centurion Kumar Sangakkara, as Sri Lanka thrash Zimbabwe by an innings and 254 runs. Under Atapattu Sri Lanka win the Tests and ODIs.

Cairns, July 2004
Helps Sri Lanka secure a draw in the second Test against Australia with a determined 133 in reply to the host's 517. Is the only centurion for Sri Lanka in the series.

Colombo, August 2004
Atapattu top-scores with 65 as Sri Lanka beat India to lift the Asia Cup by 25 runs. He is widely credited for bringing a new emphasis upon personal responsibility.



A troublesome back plagued Atapattu throughout his 17-year career and forced him out for a majority of 2005-06 © AFP
May 2005 Though Sri Lanka are without a coach, Atapattu is renamed captain for series against West Indies and India. This is in little doubt after an impressive year and his early appointment is reaffirmation of his growing status as a firm, no-nonsense leader.

June 2005
A troublesome back injury forces Atapattu to travel overseas for medical treatment ahead of a visit from West Indies for a two-Test series followed by a one-day triangular, also including India, starting in July.

October 2005
Atapattu is named captain of the World ODI Team of the Year, replacing Australia's Ricky Ponting, chosen for the role the year before.

March 2006
A recurring back problem rules him out of the ODI and Test series against Pakistan. Mahela Jayawardene, the vice-captain, leads the side. Atapattu, who sustains the injury during the tour of Australia in January, is frequently kept on the injured list in 2006. He misses the tour of England and the Test series against South Africa as he continues to recover from the back injury.

August 2006
Atapattu is declared fit and named in Sri Lanka's 15-man squad for the tri-nation one-day tournament against India and South Africa starting in Colombo on August 14. However, an explosion in downtown Colombo forces the cancellation of the series.

November 2006
Atapattu rules himself out of the first half of the New Zealand tour, saying he is not ready to return to Test cricket and wants to concentrate on the one-day game until he feels confident. In Atapattu's absence Jayawardene captains the side admirably.

February-August 2007
Atapattu is called up for the World Cup but warms the bench the entire tournament as Sri Lanka lose in the final to Australia. He is then left out of the 15-man squad for the one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. After being recalled for a home series against Bangladesh in June, Atapattu pulls out citing personal commitments. Jayawardene openly expresses his disappointment at the decision and in August Atapattu is released from his central contract with SLC, as per an earlier request.

October 2007
Controversial comments about Sri Lanka's selectors by a disgruntled Atapattu are followed by a swift recall for the tour of Australia as sports minister Gamini Lokuge intervenes.



Atapattu signed off a controversial tour of Australia with a classy 80 © Getty Images

Brisbane, November 2007
In his first Test for nearly two years, Atapattu top-scores in Sri Lanka's first innings with 51. Comes under criticism for his controversial "muppets" comments about the national selectors at the end of the third day of the first Test at the Gabba, with Sri Lanka fighting to stave off a heavy defeat.

His tour looks to be in doubt, but after his captain Jayawardene voices his support, the Sri Lanka selectors keep Atapattu on the tour to minimise disruption for the team, but say they will take "the necessary disciplinary action" when they return home.

Hobart, November 2007
After a fine second-innings 80 and before lunch on the final day of Sri Lanka's failed but exciting chase of 507, Atapattu announces his retirement from international cricket in a letter to Duleep Mendis, the Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive.