Roy Dias Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Roy Dias may not have been an ideal One-Day cricketer, given his adearance to classic technique and style.

In fact many people would say that he appeared to hate hitting the ball, instead preferring to gently stroke it around the field.

One of these elegant and disciplined batting performances would play a key role in Sri Lanka defeating Pakistan by five wickets in the inaugural Asia Cup at Sharjah in 1984.

Colombo-born Dias came in to bat at the fall of opener Sidath Wettimuny’s wicket, with the islanders chasing a redoubtable total of 188 to win. With Shahid Mahboob, Rashid Khan and Mudassar Nazar had to put away, runs did not come easy.

But Dias, who had made an indelible mark in Test cricket as the first Sri Lankan to hit 1,000 runs, steadily began to chip away at the target with cleverly struck ones and twos. He forged small, but valuable partnerships with Brendon Kurupppu, Duleep Mendis and Arjuna Ranatuga to inch Lanka towards the target.

There was only one moment during his long stay at the wicket when he really struck the ball for his only boundary in a 95-ball innings. But Sri Lanka were well on the way to victory, which came rather comfortably, with 39 balls to spare.

Following that performance, there was never any doubt about who with go home with the Man-of-the-Match award — Dias.

Sri Lanka would lose by 10 wickets to India in their subsequent round-robin match to finish runner-up in the tournament.

Following his retirement in the late eighties, Dias has served as a coach for the Sri Lanka national cricket team and more recently for the Nepal national cricket team. Dias also worked as the coach of Malaysia national cricket team 2012.