Sampathwaduge Amal Rohitha Silva
December 12, 1960, Moratuwa
Left hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Amal Silva filled two vital roles in his time with the Sri Lankan team and he did both with style, though eventually the burden was too much for one player to deal with. Silva, a capable left hand batsman and competent wicketkeeper, was asked to fill the opening position combined with his role as wicketkeeper.
With the bat Silva was capable enough to defend the new ball and had attacking strokes when the situation warranted. Behind the stumps he was more at ease against the pacemen where he could use his athletic gifts.
Making his debut against New Zealand Silva scored 8 and 0, hardly an inspiring debut with the bat - with the gloves he snared 2 catches. Guy de Alwis was preferred in the three Tests against New Zealand on the following tour. Silva's battle with de Alwis to maintain the position as number one gloveman was a constant throughout his early career. Injury to de Alwis on the 1984 tour of England gave Silva his second cap and he took his opportunity with aplomb. Silva opened the batting making an assured unbeaten 102 in the second innings to compliment his three catches behind the wicket. Silva had an excellent all-round tour with the bat and it was a sign of things to come in the following Test series against India. In the first Test at SSC he took 9 catches as Sri Lanka drew the Test. In the second he had a sensational all-round match, scoring 111, taking 8 catches and making 1 stumping, Silva was a major player in Sri Lanka's inaugural test match victory. In all Silva captured 22 dismissals, 21 catches and 1 stumping, still a record for a Sri Lankan keeper in a series to this day.
Following this unprecedented performance Silva's career went into a decline as he struggled to deal with the responsibility of combating the new ball and then keeping wickets to an international standard. After the series in 1985/86 against Pakistan the selectors preferred other options. Silva made a return in the one off test against England in 1988 but it proved to be short lived.
(Johann P Jayasekera
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