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A new-look Sri Lankan team, containing only eight of the players who had represented their country in the recent World Cup, arrived in Perth two days before Christmas to participate in the triangular World Series Cup tournament and then play their first Test match in Australia. Notable among the absentees were Duleep Mendis, who had led his country in nineteen Tests and 60 one-day internationals and was, along with Sidath Wettimuny, its most-capped player; Roy Dias, who with twenty caps had played in three Tests fewer than these two; Vinothen John and Rumesh Ratnayake. The 35-year-old Mendis had declared himself unavailable for business reasons and to devote more time to his family. His successor as captain was 28-year-old Ranjan Madugalle, who had played in nineteen Test matches, including Sri Lanka's inaugural Test against England in February 1982.
Undertaking an itinerary to which little thought had been given, the Sri Lankans started with a one-day win over Western Australia. But their only other noteworthy success was a World Series Cup victory over New Zealand on Hobart's new Bellerive Oval. Their two first-class matches up to the Test were drawn, with Tasmania holding the slight advantage in Hobart and the Sri Lankans considerably on top against Victoria in Melbourne.
The Test match, in Perth, attracted so little interest that only the first session of play each day was televised nationally. The daily attendance figures of 3,761, 3,566, 3,030 and 250 - a total of 10,607 - amounted to the lowest attendance at a Test in Australia since 1887-88 and was the fourth lowest on record. As the Australian captain, Allan Border, was prompted to remark, his state team, Queensland, attracted more spectators to a single day's play than turned up for four in Perth. Just an hour and a quarter of the fourth day was all Australia required to complete a convincing victory by an innings and 108 runs.
Test match - Played 1: Lost 1.
First-class matches - Played 3: Lost 1, Drawn 2.
Loss - Australia.
Draws - Tasmania, Victoria
One-day internationals - Played 8: Won 1, Lost 7. Win - New Zealand. Losses - Australia (4), New Zealand (3).
Other non first-class matches - Played 7: Won 5, Lost 1, Drawn 1. Wins - Western Australia, Western Australian Country XI, Australian Country XI, Northern Territory Invitation XI, Victorian Country XI. Loss - South Australia. Draw - Western Australia.
Match reports for