Echoes of Arjuna Ranatunga’s World Cup-winning blueprint – potent spinners, pinch-hitting openers, bucket loads of confidence – can be seen in the England ODI side today
As England and Sri Lanka prepare for the five-match one-day series starting on Wednesday in Dambulla, a warm-up of sorts for the World Cup now less than eight months away, it feels the right time to stumble backwards 22 years, to one of cricket’s greatest stories.
On 17 March 1996, in the sultry atmosphere of Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s captain, lifted the World Cup high into the air. No one could quite believe it. Sri Lanka, the baby brother of the Asian block, the international whipping boys, had popped out of the hat, brandishing a party popper, a grin and a new kick-ass way of playing the game.
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