SL umpire who stood in maiden Test win dies

Sri Lanka umpire Piyadasa Vidanagamage, who officiated in the country's maiden Test win, over India at the P Sara Oval in 1985, died in England at the age of 79 on Saturday. Vidanagamage's partner in that Test, Selliah Ponnadurai, had passed away on August 15.

Vidanagamage was the first Sri Lankan umpire to officiate in a World Cup, when he stood in four games in the 1987 edition. Overall, Vidanagamage officiated in four Tests and 23 ODIs between 1982 and 1991 in an umpiring career spanning 30 years.

A qualified physiotherapist, he was director of the physiotherapy section of Sri Lanka's department of health and represented his employers in cricket as a left-hand bat and slow left-arm orthodox bowler. He was also treasurer of the Association of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka for a long period and a lecturer on the laws of cricket for the association.

"One of the good qualities of Vida was that he never criticized a fellow umpire or an up and coming umpire," said Saman Amarasinghe, a contemporary of Vidanagamage.

"Vida was a straightforward person. He never bowed down to pressure from players or officials," said MDDN Guneratne, another umpiring colleague.

Vidanagamage decided to settle in England following his retirement from the health department in the early nineties.

He is the third Sri Lanka Test umpire to pass away in the last three months, after Kandiah Francis, who died in June, and Ponnadurai.