London: Former Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madualle has become the first member of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees to reach the 150-Test mark when he took field to officiate in the fifth and final game between India and England here on Friday.
Speaking at the milestone, Madugalle said: "It is a huge honour for me to reach this landmark in my career and I am extremely proud and privileged to be the first person to do so.
"It is impossible for me to select a highlight from that time, if I`m honest, because I have had many happy memories. I have approached every series and every Test match in the exact same manner and I have learned a lot working across the world over the years."
Madugalle, who was a mainstay during his nation`s formative years in the Test arena, represented his country in 21 Tests and 63 one-dayers (ODIs) between 1979 and 1988, in which he scored 1,029 and 950 runs, respectively.
Following his retirement, he soon made the transition to refereeing and marked his debut in the Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in 1993 at Karachi`s National Stadium.
"Without strong support bases in your personal life, it would not be possible to fulfil your ambitions professionally and I would like to thank my family, friends and the match officials community for their support. I would also like to thank the ICC for its encouragement over the years," he said.
"There was a time when it seemed that the only avenue for past players to stay involved in the game was in the media. But it is wonderful to see so many opportunities nowadays in terms of areas such as coaching, management and officiating.
"The game of cricket has given me an enormous amount - both as a player and in later years as a match official - and I feel especially lucky to have worked across the transition from amateurism to professionalism with some incredible players, officials and administrators in that time," he added.
Paying tribute to Madugalle on reaching his 150th Test, ICC`s senior umpires and referees manager, Vince Van Der Bijl, said: "Ranjan is a consummate professional match referee and deeply respected by all involved in the game.
"His energy levels, enjoyment, match preparation, attention to detail and dedicated service to cricket remain as high now after 150 officiated Tests as ever. The global match official community salutes you, Ranjan, on your 150th Test, enjoy."