Australia made a short tour of Sri Lanka in April 1983, playing one Test match, one three-day match and four one-day Internationals, two at each end of the visit. Kim Hughes, Rodney Marsh, Jeff Thomson and Geoff Lawson were unavailable, Greg Chappell returning to the captaincy with David Hookes as his vice-captain. In Marsh's absence, the selectors chose Roger Woolley, who thus became the first Tasmanian to appear for Australia, while still a Tasmanian player, since L. J. Nash in 1931-32.
Australia won the Test match by an innings, with a day and a half to spare, after Chappell had won a toss which gave his side first use of a pitch that soon took spin. Sri Lanka won the first two one-day Internationals, the first played only a day after the Australians had arrived; rain in the last two ruined the Australians' chances of levelling the series. The three-day match against the Board President's XI was drawn, the President's XI containing many young players, of whom one played in the Test match and three others were selected for the 1983 World Cup team.
The most successful Australian batsman was Graham Yallop. Consistent throughout, he made at least 30 every time he batted. In the Test match, only six were required to bat, and of these all but Graeme Wood made a significant contribution. Curiously, of these six all except Chappell were left-handers.
The slow pitches meant that spin was the main weapon, to the advantage of Tom Hogan, on his first tour, and Bruce Yardley. Dennis Lillee, after missing much of the Australian season through injury, passed a stringent fitness test before the tour, and in unhelpful conditions had his successes, notably making an early breakthrough in each innings of the Test match. John Maguire's bowling was restricted to 49 balls in the first one-day international, the early abandonment of the last two matches, in which he played, giving him no chance to bowl.
Sri Lanka picked an unbalanced attack for the Test match, including two leg-spinners, and, batting against a large Australian total, could not afford failures by four of the first six batsmen in each innings. Especially disappointing was the double failure of Roy Dias, who had batted so successfully in previous Test matches but was troubled now by a hand injury suffered in New Zealand. Arjuna Ranatunga, the young left-hander who missed that tour, made a successful return.
The tour was managed by Mr H. W. H. Rigg, a former player for Western Australia.
Test matches - Played 1: Won 1.
First-class matches - Played 2: Won 1, Drawn 1.
Win - Sri Lanka.
Draw - Board President's XI.
Non first-class matches - Played 4: Lost 2, Drawn 2.
Losses - Sri Lanka (2).
Draws - Sri Lanka (2).
Match reports for