We are just hours away from the beginning of the Test series between India and Sri Lanka starting tomorrow. Both the sides have been involved in some terrific matches from their very first series and despite India being the outright favorites to win the series hands down, the hosts will look to take heart from their record breaking chase against Zimbabwe and will look to give the Indians a tough fight.
In the first segment of India in Sri Lanka: History of Test matches, we discussed the series held between the two nations in Sri Lanka from 1985-1999. In the 2nd par, we will round it off with all the remaining series the two sides has been part of in the island nation.
2001 – Sri Lanka won 2-1
Sri Lanka began with a resounding victory in the opening game thanks to a brilliant spell of fast bowling by Dilhara Fernando and a match winning a performance by the spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan. Fernando’s five wicket haul in the first innings helped the Lankans restrict India to a mediocre 187 and despite Javal Srinath’s 5-wicket haul, Sri Lanka got a big 175 runs lead which was enough to put the Indian batsmen on the backfoot. The visitors only managed 180 giving the hosts a mere 6 runs to chase in the final innings.
The visitors staged a dramatic comeback in the 2nd Test at Candy. It was a heroic knock from the blade of “Prince of Kolkata” Sourav Ganguly in the 4th innings which enabled India to stage a grand comeback. It was a relatively low scoring match with fortunes fluctuating from one side to the other. Sri Lanka batted first and managed 274 and the visitors replied with 232. Zaheer and Venkatesh Prasad bowled well to restrict Sri Lanka to 221 in the 2nd innings leaving India to chase 264 in the final innings. Dravid scored 75 and gave able support to Ganguly to clinch the deal for India.
Sri Lanka staged a memorable comeback in the decider and won by an innings and 77 runs. Murali yet again proved to be the trump card for Sri Lanka as the offie finished with 8/87 in the 1st essay to reduce India to 234. The hosts piled on 610 in the 1st innings which batted India out of the match. They eventually managed to score 299 in the 2nd innings, handing the hosts an overwhelming victory.
2008 – Sri Lanka won 2-1
India toured Sri Lanka after a gap of 7 years but the scoreline remained the same. It was the series where the mystery spinner Ajanta Mendis announced his arrival in the longest format with a sensational performance. He had bamboozled the Indian batsmen with a 6 wicket haul in the Asia Cup final a few days ago and yet again the Indians succumbed to his uncanny action and pace variations.
Sri Lanka posted a mammoth 600/6 riding on centuries by Malinda Warnapura, Mahela Jayawardena, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera. The spin duo of Murali and Mendis skittled out the visitors for a meagre 223 runs with Murali bagging 5 and Mendis finishing with 4 wickets. Following on the visitors performed worse than their 1st essay. Yet again Mendis bagged 4 and Murali took 6 to hand Sri Lanka an emphatic victory by an innings and 239 runs.
It was expected that India will struggle yet again in the 2nd Test but what transpired left the hosts shell shocked. Virender Sehwag showed that Mendis can be tackled and attacked too. He scored a breathtaking 201 which helped India post 329 in the first. Yet again Mendis took 6 wickets. Harbhajan Singh’s 6 wicket haul helped India restrict Sri Lanka to 293.
The spin duo of Murali and Mendis then bowled the Indians out for 267 but the visiting bowlers were at their very best bowling the Lankans out for a paltry 136 runs.
The stage was set for the decider in Colombo but the Indian batsmen succumbed to Mendis for yet another time as Sri Lanka crushed India by 8 wickets to clinch the series by a 2-1 margin.
2010 – drawn 1-1
Sri Lanka won the opening Test at Galle which was Murali’s farewell Test and the offie ended his career with 800 wickets. It was a resounding 10 wickets victory which put the hosts in complete control of the series. Both teams settled for a draw in the 2nd encounter with nearly 1500 runs being scored in the match at the expense of only 17 wickets. Tendulkar got to yet another double century in his career.
India had to play out of their skins to level the series at the P Sara Oval and they did exactly that in a dramatic fashion. Virender Sehwag’s century helped India take a slender 11 runs lead in the 1st innings. Amit Mishra, Sehwag and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha then bagged 3 wickets each to restrict Sri Lanka to 267.
Chasing 257 to win in the final innings, India were jolted early and as reduced to 63/4 before Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman shared a crucial partnership to bail India out of trouble. Laxman remained unbeaten on a brilliant 103 which helped India level the series.
2015 – India won 2-1
It was Virat Kohli’s first tenure as a full-time captain of the national team and he didn’t disappoint as India won a series in Sri Lanka after a gap of 22 years. It was an inspired performance by the Indian team especially after losing the opening Test at Galle. Despite dominating the majority of the match, India faltered in the final hurdle and was bowled out for 112 in the 4th innings thanks to a brilliant spell of left-arm spin bowling by Rangana Herath. It was Dinesh Chandimal’s sensational 162 which helped the hosts force their way back into the match.
India thrashed the hosts by 278 runs in the 2nd Test where KL Rahul struck his 2nd Test century and the spinners Amit Mishra and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled really well to hand India a comfortable victory.
In the final Test, the inclusion of Cheteshwar Pujara proved to be vital as the makeshift opener batted through the innings to score a match winning 145.in the 1st innings. India managed to score 312 in the 1st essay and Ishant Sharma’s 5 wicket haul helped India secure a big 1st innings lead. Chasing 387 to win, captain Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera batted well but the target was way too big. Ishant and Ashwin bowled brilliantly for the 2nd time in the match as India won by 117 runs and clinched the 3 match series by a 2-1 margin.