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5 moments from India vs Sri Lanka Test history

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India_Sri_Lanka_Cricket_Test_ODI_T20IIndia commences its tour of Sri Lanka with a 3-match Test series beginning at Galle on the 26th of July. While the two teams do not have an extensively rich Test history between them, they have shared several unforgettable moments in the format over the decades.

When Sri Lanka amassed a colossal 952-6:

It is highly unlikely we shall get to see a Test match like this ever again. On their 1997 tour to Sri Lanka, India chose to bat first in the first Test at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. On what was perhaps one of the flattest wickets in Test cricket, India put together a formidable 537-8 (dec.) in the first innings. 

In their reply, Sri Lanka lost opener Marvan Attapattu at the end of Day 2 with just 39 runs on the board. India planned to put pressure on the home side on the third day, but that simply never happened. For the next three days, the Sri Lankan batsmen just batted, batted and batted. 

Led by Sanath Jayasuriya’s epic 340 and Roshan Mahanama’s gritty 225 (the two shared a record-breaking stand of 576 for the 2nd wicket), Sri Lanka piled on a colossal 952-6 in 271 overs. The match, obviously, ended in a draw and that mammoth total by Sri Lanka still remains the highest ever team score in Test cricket history.

Virender Sehwag blasts a majestic 201:

On India’s 2008 3-Test tour to Sri Lanka, literally no Indian batsman had an answer to the combined onslaught of masterful spin bowling from Muttiah Muralitharan and mystery spinner Ajanatha Mendis. After losing the first match, India batted first on a spinning deck at Galle in the second Test. While the other Indian batsmen began falling one after the other, it was opener Virender Sehwag who showed how to tackle spin bowling. Cutting, flicking and driving with nonchalance, Sehwag went on a rampage and spanked the Sri Lankan spinners with utter disdain. 

In what was an outstanding batting exhibition on a difficult pitch, Sehwag went on to score a majestic unbeaten 201 off 231 balls with 22 fours and 4 sixes. He had contributed more than 60 percent to India’s final total of 329. Courtesy this brilliant effort, India managed to win the match by 170 runs and leveled the series.

Sri Lanka’s first ever Test win:

This was a historic moment in Sri Lankan cricket history. Having entered the Test arena only in 1982, Sri Lanka was relatively inexperienced while facing-off against the much more experienced India in the second Test of the 3-match series at Colombo in September 1985. 

Batting first, Sri Lanka compiled 385 in the first innings on the back of a fine hundred by Amal Silva. The home side then put up a spirited display with the ball to restrict the experienced Indian batting lineup to just 244; pacer Rumesh Ratnayake being the wrecker-in-chief with figures of 4-76. 

With a handy lead of 131, Sri Lanka then went on to make 206-3 (dec.) in their second innings featuring a sparkling, unbeaten 75 by Aravinda de Silva. Needing a tough 348 to win the Test, the Indian batting crumpled as Rumesh Ratnayake led the charge again with a fantastic spell of 5-49. India was bundled out for just 198 and lost the Test by 149 runs. An inexperienced Sri Lanka thus humbled India and registered their first ever Test victory against them.

The summer of Ajantha Mendis:

Prior to India’s 3-match Test series against Sri Lanka in 2008, much was written about mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, who had produced a magnificent match-winning spell of 6-13 against India in the Asia Cup final a few weeks back. Mendis lived up to the hype in the Test series and produced a sensational display of spin bowling with his array of two-fingered googlies, doosras, off-cutters and skidders that completely bamboozled the visiting Indian team. 

In the three Tests, Mendis collected a record-breaking 26 wickets - the most for a three-match debut series- at an average of 18.38. Only Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly were able to tackle Mendis’ accuracy and guile to an extent. The others - VVS Laxman fell to him five times- simply succumbed to his mastery. Mendis was rightly adjudged the Man of the Series as he was instrumental in Sri Lanka clinching the series 2-1.

Chandimal steals victory from India:

In the first Test of the 3-match series between the two sides at Galle in 2015, India was right on top after bundling Sri Lanka out for 183 in the first innings and posting a strong 375 in their reply. The home side was reeling at 95-5 and was on the brink of an embarrassing loss at home when in walked wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal and completely changed the course of the match. 

Striking the ball beautifully and taking every Indian bowler on, Chandimal smashed his way to an incredible, unbeaten hundred. He shared crucial partnerships with the tail-enders while keeping a steady run-rate all through. The wicket was getting tough to bat on but Chandimal was in his elements and with a bit of fortune, went on to score a spectacular unbeaten 162 off 169 balls with 19 fours and 4 sixes. 

The innings bolstered Sri Lanka’s lead to 175, and thanks to a superb bowling spell by Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka bowled India out for just 112 and won the match by 63 runs. It was one of Sri Lanka’s greatest comeback wins ever which they achieved only due to Dinesh Chandimal’s remarkable counter-attacking knock. 

 

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