De Silva enjoyed a 19-year international career for Sri Lanka, notably playing a starring role in their memorable run to victory at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 1996.
De Silva made his Test debut at Lord’s in 1984, and scored 75 as Sri Lanka recorded the first Test win in their history a year later, defeating India at Colombo. A first Test century followed against a Pakistan attack of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir at Faisalabad the following month, and in 1991 he struck a then-national record individual score of 267 against New Zealand at Wellington.
The all-rounder was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning campaign in 1996, and his contributions during a memorable Final against Australia in Lahore are written in cricket folklore. De Silva took three key wickets with his off-spin to restrict Australia’s score, before scoring an unbeaten 107 to navigate his side out of trouble to win their maiden global crown. He was the first to score a century and take three wickets in the same World Cup match – and is still the only one to do so in a Final.
He signed off from Test cricket in 2002 with a double-century in his final innings and retired from all international cricket after the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2003.