July 26, 2010

Sri Lanka's awesome toss record

Winning a Test against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is one of the toughest tasks going around, but beating them in a home venue after losing the toss is perhaps the toughest task in international cricket

Sri Lanka's openers continue their team's awesome record after winning the toss in another home Test © Associated Press

Winning a Test against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is one of the toughest tasks going around, but beating them in a home venue after losing the toss is perhaps the toughest task in international cricket. In April next year, the island will celebrate a decade of never having lost a home Test in which they've won the toss. An awesome stat for them, and a scary one for all opponents.

The table below lists the records of all teams after winning tosses in home games, and none is as imposing as the Sri Lankans. In 19 matches before the ongoing one in Colombo, they'd won 15 and drawn four. Their preferred method has been, as you'd expect, bat first and knock the stuffing out of the opposition - they've done that 11 times. And on six of the seven occasions when they've fielded, the opponents have been Bangladesh - so the move was probably to ensure an early finish to the match. None of the other sides have a record which is as dominant, though Pakistan haven't lost any of ten Tests either. (To see how these teams perform when they lose the toss, click here.)

The last team to achieve the near-impossible feat of losing the toss and winning the match against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka was England, in that acrimonious series in 2001, when they edged past the home team by four wickets at the SSC. On the basis of what has been witnessed in the first two sessions of the current match at the SSC, it can safely be said that MS Dhoni's team won't repeat that feat over the next four days.

Win-loss ratios of teams in Tests at home after winning toss since April 2001
Team Matches Win/loss Draw W/L ratio Bat ave Bowl ave
Sri Lanka 19 15/ 0 4 - 50.37 22.79
Pakistan 10 5/ 0 5 - 48.56 37.21
Australia 24 20/ 3 1 6.67 47.44 28.52
England 30 19/ 3 8 6.33 42.33 29.41
India 20 9/ 2 9 4.50 43.38 33.21
South Africa 24 14/ 7 3 2.00 37.20 29.87
New Zealand 21 9/ 5 7 1.80 31.69 30.12
West Indies 24 5/ 11 8 0.45 32.85 35.59
Zimbabwe 13 3/ 7 3 0.42 28.99 36.64
Bangladesh 20 1/ 18 1 0.05 23.87 46.30

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on July 28, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    What an impressive record from Sri lanka. Proud to be a Sri Lankan

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    I am much surprised that considering other teams like Srilanka, England, Australia, South Africa & also include India and New Zealand, the one of the major team PAKISTAN has very low average of Match just 05 Matches. Yes, In Pakistan, we see some crises but this above statement is from 2001. well, its a good work to see.


  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    "Win the toss, win the match" Thats rubbish... Why cant we give credit to excellent srilankan batting? At least in this series, they have shown that they are a much better side than indians. And in the first test, they had murali and malinga....none of the indian bowlers can match the two. Indians need resolve in test cricket to win matches in srilanka...look at the record of the English team batting second in Srilanka.

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    An intesesting article however how does winning the toss @ home vs winning games stack up over all cricket history, as that would give you a mean in which to judge an even keel. I suspect that a home team that wins the toss also wins the game, regardless of battign first or second.

    @Phil Gnana, I have to say thats a rather simplistic view, the team winning the toss will always have the better of the conditions, eg in England winning the toss in overcast conditions with swing bowlers gives you an advantage.

    @Rakesh, dont be so daft, why should the team get any 'free' runs for batting second. The toss is a 50/50 chance so each team have the benefit of getting the conditions.

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    How do you think India went to #1 in the ICC ranking. Check your stats gentlemen. Funny how the toss was never brough-up in the past 2 years when India benifited by winning 90% of the tosses agaist Sri Lanka. In the past 3 tours India have won 90 of the coin tosses in ODI's. Even the recently concluded Asia Cup final when Idia won the toss and won. Yes it might be win the toss and win the match in Sri Lanka (ODI or Test) but that is why India has managed to beat Sri Lanka. The record between the two countries when playing outside of India or Sri Lanka is 100% in favor of Sri Lanka in the past 2 years. So Indians shoud not be complaining about playing in Sri Lanka as the coin toss is their only hope.

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 2:45 GMT

    Cool. Nice stat. SL are monsters to beat at home. They've been poorly mistreated by the FTP/ICC the last decade.

    Lets hope India get into more matches where they lose the toss and the pitch is a road and the opposition bat them into oblivion. Maybe then the BCCI can complain and try to get more result friendly pitches prepared, helpful to both bat and ball. Its no fun watching a bowler bowl when he, his team, the opposition, the hotdog man, the commentators, and most importantly the audience know that he has no chance of taking a wicket on his own. Might as well get a bowl machine to bowl to SL as everyone will simply be waiting for the SL batsmen to gift away their wicket like Dilshan.

    Test cricket is dying folks and dead pitches are killing it. I hope India get creamed 3-0 so more attention can be paid to dead pitches. Look how exciting the Aus Pak match was in England. If only more effort was made in the subcontinent to produce results, Test cricket would be in better standing.

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    better, give every team a fair chance in the subcontinent. let there be toss only for first test. the next test automatically the loser of the first test toss gets to chose what he wants to do and it goes vice versa after that in each test. how does this sound.

  • testli5504537 on July 27, 2010, 1:20 GMT

    Interesting stat. Most interesting is Pakistan can be a consistent team. They didn't lose a game provided they won the toss at home. Even Australia lost some. And the ability of Pakistan to reduce the number of draws and increase their number of wins will depend on improving their bowling stat. Scary.

  • testli5504537 on July 26, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    It is not a scary stat for all opponents. Australia do not figure in the stat at all, because they won all three tosses the only time they toured in the last ten years, and smashed Sri Lanka 3-zip. While Australia have a 5-1 record in Sri Lanka, and an 11-1 record against Sri Lanka overall, it is a pointless stat to put forward. Unless you simply say it is a scary stat for all but one opponent.

  • testli5504537 on July 26, 2010, 20:51 GMT

    Lets not forget, that winning the toss is a 50% probability. So it is a fair and equal chance for both teams. Remember aussie tracks made for Lillee and Thompson. Those tracks are still leaning towards pace attack. The opposition should be prepared for this when they tour Sri Lanka or Pakistan/India. In Canada, the ice-hockey rinks are tailored for North American style vs. European style eg. Russians. And let us not forget baseball, the fences are shorter for home-team sluggers. Biggest example is Babe Ruth at old yankee stadium. Welcome to home field advantage and sports.

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