The first Asian captain of Cambridge University for whom he scored 211 against Oxford in 1957, Goonesena played 94 first class matches for Notts, taking 299 wickets and scoring 2464 runs.

He scored 107 not out against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge in 1955, his highest score for the county.

He died in Canberra aged 80, on 1 August 2011. Ian Pieris, a contemporary who played under Goonesena at Oxford hailed him as having a `keen cricket brain'. He added: `Sadly, Sri Lanka was not able to make proper use of his cricketing brain.'