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The stats history of India, Sri Lanka and Kolkata

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India_Sri_Lanka_Cricket_Test_ODI_T20ISri Lanka will begin their tour of India for a bilateral series of 3 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. In August this year, India toured the island and won each of the 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and the solitary T20I. It was creditable that India put on such a convincing performance away from home.

Sri Lanka have made some bold decisions for this tour, including dropping Kusal Mendis, considered one of their brightest young prospects. A number of their squad is inexperienced enough to never have played a Test in India. However, they will be boosted by the return of Angelo Mathews. Sri Lanka are a team on the upswing and have addressed some of the issues they faced against India. They recently beat a strong Pakistan side 2-0 in a Test series in the United Arab Emirates, so they will be looking forward to the India tour with a lot of optimism and hope.

Sri Lanka in India

Sri Lanka have toured India for seven bilateral Test series and have lost on five occasions while two series have ended in a draw. Out of the 17 Test matches that they have played, they have lost 10 and drawn seven. So, even winning a Test has proved elusive and difficult for them.

The venue for the first Test is the Eden Gardens at Kolkata and Sri Lanka have never played a Test at this venue. It is one of the most iconic venues in world cricket and Sri Lanka will be hoping to register their first ever Test win in India there.

Even though Sri Lanka, as a team, have fared poorly in India, there have been some notable individual performances by their batsmen in Tests. Mahela Jayawardene has scored 628 runs in 6 Tests at an average of 62.8. His high score of 275, scored at Ahmedabad in November 2009, is the highest by any Sri Lankan player.

Overall, Sri Lankan batsmen have scored 9 Test centuries in India. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Duleep Mendis lead the pack with two apiece. The most Test appearances by Lankan players on Indian soil are 11 each by Muttiah Muralitharan and Arjuna Ranatunga.

While the batsmen have done well, Sri Lanka’s bowlers have been found wanting with a poor record in India.

Murali has claimed 40 wickets in 11 Tests at a poor average of 45.45, while Rangana Herath has taken 11 wickets in 3 Tests at 48.81. There have been 7 five wicket hauls by Lankan bowlers, of which two were taken by Murali. The best bowling figures in an innings is 7/100 by Murali at Delhi in December 2005.

Eden Gardens

Kolkata has hosted 40 Tests, the most amongst the 27 Test grounds in India. In the Gardens, India have won 12 Tests, lost 9 and drawn 19. Their 12 victories at this ground is their third most among all Test venues in India after the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

As one would expect with most Test venues in India, the team winning the toss would tend to bat. At Kolkata, the team winning the toss has elected to bat on 35 out of 40 occasions. In the last 30 years, no team has elected to field on winning the toss at Kolkata.

However, the team winning the toss has won only 12 out of the 21 Tests with a decisive result; the team batting first has won on only 12 occasions. This indicates that the toss is not that important and the wicket is by no means unplayable.

Visitors in Kolkata

Eden Gardens is a venue where visiting teams have put in many memorable performances.

The highest aggregate of runs is 346 by Rohan Kanhai. He also holds the record for the highest individual score by a visiting batsman when he scored 256 in December 1958.

There have been 39 centuries scored by visiting batsmen at the Eden Gardens. Hashim Amla, Gary Kirsten, Everton Weekes and Younis Khan have scored two each.

Richie Benaud has taken the most wickets with 18 from 2 Tests at a very good average of 14.83. There have been 17 five wicket hauls by visiting bowlers and the best bowling figures in an innings are 8/64 by Lance Klusener in November 1996, which helped South Africa beat India by 329 runs.

Indians in Kolkata

Sachin Tendulkar has played the most Tests in Kolkata with 13, while VVS Laxman has scored the most aggregate runs with 1,217. Laxman has scored the most centuries, 5, and also scored the highest individual score at the venue with his famous 281 against Australia in March 2001. Surprisingly, visiting batsmen have scored more centuries at Eden Garden (39) than their Indian batsmen counterparts (36).

On the bowling front, Harbhajan Singh has taken the most wickets in Kolkata with 46. Javagal Srinath has the best bowling figures by an Indian when he took 8/86 against Pakistan in February 1999. Indian bowlers have taken 25 five wicket hauls at this venue, compared to 17 by visiting bowlers.

In the last five Tests played at this venue, spinners have taken 73 wickets while pace bowlers have taken 75 wickets. This shows that the pitch is not a typical rank turner.

The highest team total is 657/7 declared by India against Australia in March 2001, while the highest by a visiting side is 614/5 in December 1958.

On a more immediate note, there are also some milestones that India’s players might reach during the Test or in the series:

Virat Kohli needs 1 century to reach 50 centuries across all international formats.

Ravichandran Ashwin is 8 wickets short of 300 Test wickets. He will become the 5th Indian and the 31st overall to reach this milestone. If he reaches 300 wickets in this series, he will become the fastest in terms of Tests played to reach this landmark. Currently, Dennis Lillee holds the record, achieving the feat in 56 Tests.

Umesh Yadav needs 6 wickets to become the 21st Indian to take 100 Test wickets. He will become the 7th pace bowler from India to reach this milestone.

On paper, India appear to be very formidable opponents for Sri Lanka and a 3-0 whitewash looks on the cards. However, cricket is a funny game and India should guard against complacency and underestimating their opponents.

 

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