CricInfo Reviews Sri Lanka's test match history

Leonard Ratnayake

June 13, 2000

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Going into their 100th test, Sri Lanka has a proud 18 year history of Test cricket since they got the official ICC test status. They were beaten and bashed by the giants of the game early on but Sri Lanka went through all of them to become one of the worlds premier cricketing nations.

Cricinfo looks back over the years by running through some of the ups and downs during its 18 year test history.

1) Sri Lanka's first ever test match (Feburary 1982)

England played the first ever unofficial test match over 100 years ago and the first ever official test. Unfortunately they haven't played each other enough since.

After the two teams were introduced to the President of the BCCSL Gamini Dissanayake, Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka's first test captain won the toss and elected to bat first, but Sri Lanka were soon in trouble losing four wickets for 34 runs. Thereafter Ranjan Madugalle and an 18-year-old Arjuna Ranatunga (54) put on 99 runs for the fifth wicket to see the home side end the day at 183 for eight. He next morning they were soon bowled out for 218.

Sri Lanka had performed beyond all expectations to restrict England to 223 runs with Asantha de Mel taking four wickets for 70 while DS de Silva three for 54. At the end of third day, Sri Lanka had further improved its position by reaching to 152 for three. Roy Dias (77)played the anchor role while Wettamuny again batted doggedly, scoring just nine runs in 64 minutes.

Disaster struck on the fourth day as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for just eight runs and England beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets.

2) Sri Lanka's rebel tour of South Africa (September 1982)

Differences arose between some of the players and the Board shortly after their unsuccessful tour of India, where they lost all three One Day Internationals and drew the one off test against India in Madras.

The result was a rebel tour of South Africa led by Bandula Warnapura. The controversial tour resulted in a 25-year ban by the Board on all who went to South Africa.

The AROSA (Sri Lanka) team, that secretly left the Island in September 1982 was led by the Sri Lankan captain Bandula Warnapura and included ARM Opatha, LW Kaluperuma, AN Ranasinghe, GRA de Silva, S Karunaratne, NDP Hettiarachchy, GAF Aponso, PLJ Fernando, JBN Perera, MH Gunatillake JF Woutersz, and B de Silva and HH Devapriya as Manager.

3) Sri Lanka play their first official test at Lords-compliments from the English writers (August 1984)

`May Sri Lanka long give light to the cricket world with their correct technique and philosophy. In their troubled land perhaps the lesson has even wider application and if that application leads to the light of a solution she would have found and answer the whole world needs' wrote Dickie Dodds in the Telegraph in London.

Although the much anticipated test at Lord's did not produce a result it was instrumental in receiving a big boost for Sri Lankan cricket with much praise and recognition.

The Lankans did well on bouncy and lively track to score a mammoth 491 for seven wickets in the first innings with two of their batsmen making centuries. Sidath Wettamuny (190) became the first Sri Lankan to score a century at Lords but was shortly followed by skipper Dulip Mendis (111).

The Sri Lankan pace bowlers enjoyed the opportunity to bowl on the fast track and took a first innings lead when they restricted the Englishmen to 370. Asantha de Mel and John Jeyarajasingham sharing eight wickets between them.

In the second innings third Lankan century of the match was scored by wicket-keeper batsman Amal Silva(102) while an unlucky Mendis(94) was out on the verge of making history.

4) Sri Lanka beat India to record their first ever test victory (September 1985)

Playing in their 14th test match and third test against India, the Lankan cricket received a big boost for the future, when they beat their giant neighbours India by 149 runs in the second test of the three-match series in September, 1985.

Coming into the home series against India, Lankan cricket had vastly improved from its old days and the team were determined to pull out a surprise.

Sri Lanka's approach to this second test match was very determined and they received a bonus when skipper Dulip Mendis won the toss and elected to bat first. They got off to a good start and had a first wicket stand of 74 runs between Sidath Wettamuny(17) and Amal Silva(111) to end the first day at 168 for one. Three half centuries from Ranjan Madugalle(54), Roy Dias(95) and Mendis(51) helped the Lankans reach an imposing total of 385.

The bowlers then responded with the seamers Ravi Ratnayake(4/76), Asantha de Mel(2/63) and Saliya Ahangama(3/59) sharing nine wickets to restrict the Indian innings to 244 runs in 46 overs. Lankans batting in their second innings added a further 206 runs for three wickets to set India a victory target of 349 runs.

And then it was upto the bowlers to defend the total and to secure Sri Lanka's first ever test victory. They were quick to the task and had the Indians reeling at seven for 98. Ratnayake(5/49) was the star while Ahangama (2/56) and de Mel (3/64) also chipped in.

5) Sri Lanka in a dramatic collapse after being on the verge of victory (August 1992)

The match was at the centre of talks in recent times after the Sunday Times newspaper in London carried a report alleging that three Sri Lankan players had been approached by bookmakers during the match.

The dramatic collapse in the second innings of the match enabled the Australians to win the match by 16 runs prompting the Aussie skipper Alan Border to say that their victory was a miracle, God sent, in the first match of three-test series in August, 1992.

It was also very important to debutant wicket-keeper batsmen Romesh Kaluwitharana who made a blazing 132 runs which included 26 boundaries and thus becoming only the third batsman in the world to score a century on his test debut.

After winning the toss Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga invited the visiting Australians to take the first lease of the wicket in their first match of the three-match series. The visitors did not find it very easy to adjust to the conditions and scored only 256 runs in 82 overs. Chandika Haturusinghe(4/66), Pramodya Wickramasinghe(2/59) and Champaka Ramanayake(3/51) all swung the ball around and troubled the Australian batsmen.

Then followed a brilliant batting display by the Lankans. Asanka Gurusinghe(137), Arjuna Ranatunge(127) and Romesh Kaluwitharana(132) all contributed towards a mammoth total of 547 for eight.

In the second innings the Australians fought back with determined batting display with almost all the players contributing to compile 467 runs.

Chasing only 181 runs to win, Sri Lanka collapsed in dramatic fashion to give the Australians an unexpected victory. Sri Lankans were well poised for victory at 126-2 but paniced after the dismissal of Aravinda De Silva. Asanka Gurusinghe was left unbeaten on 31 as Sri Lanka lost the match by 16 runs.

6) Slumping to their lowest ever total of 71 runs (August 1994)

The third test at Asgiriya stadium, Kandy , would be the first to be forgotten by any Sri Lankan cricketer of the country, when their team slumped to the lowest ever total of 71 all out in just 28.2 overs.

Put into bat first none of the Sri Lankan batsmen could resist the fierce bowling attack by the two Pakistani fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis who entered the record books after becoming only the second Pakistani pair to bowl unchanged throughout in a test innings. Waqar claimed 6/34 while Akram took 4/32 to finish the Lankan innings in the morning session itself.

Only wicket-keeper batsmen Pubudu Dassanayake spent a considerable time at the crease with an unbeaten 19 runs. Extras were the second highest scorer with 11.

In reply, Pakistan made a solid 367 runs for nine wickets to declare their innings in 87.5 overs. Their innings was helped by an unbeaten century from Inzamam Ul Haq off 125 balls while opener Aamir Sohail struck 74 runs.

Despite a fight back by the late middle-order batsmen trying to prevent an innings defeat, Sri Lanka lost the match by an innings and 52 runs. Younis claimed five Lankan scalps in the second innings too to bag a match haul of 11 wickets and to win the Man of the match award.

7) The first ever overseas test and series victory in New Zealand (March 1995)

In the first test match at Napier' McLean Park in New Zealand, Sri Lanka displayed all their fighting skills to secure their first ever overseas victory in Test cricket, beating New Zealand by 241 runs.

It was the two youngsters who guided the Lankans to victory, with Man of the match Chaminda Vaas promising a lot for the future of Sri Lankan cricket and debutant wicket-keeper batsmen Chamara Dunusinghe proving himself to be an asset to the team.

Vaas playing only in his second test match displayed his talent capturing a match bag of 10 wicket for 90 runs to become the most feared bowler in the series. Bowling 19 overs in the first innings Vaas claimed 5 wickets for 47 runs and then struck five times again in the second innings bowling 27 overs and conceding only 43 runs.

Dunusinghe on the other hand did an excellent job behind the wicket being responsible for seven dismissals in the two innings and scored 112 runs in the match. His aggressive 91 runs in the second innings came in handy for the Lankans and allowed them to reach a respectable total of 352 runs in the second innings to set the Kiwis a target of 427 runs to win.

New Zealand were bowledl out for 185 runs with the Lankans celebrating their first ever-overseas test victory.

That led them to their first ever test series victory after the second test at Carisbrook, Dunedin ended in a draw as a high scoring game. Sri Lanka won the two-match series two-nil.

8) Sri Lanka proudly enters into the world record books (August 1997)

Just 17 months after winning the world's limited over cricket crown, Sri Lanka produced another gimmick in the history of cricket when they totaled the highest ever test innings making 952 runs for six wickets.

Highlights and records tumbled and created during the match

*** Day 1: India 280/3 (Tendulkar 65*, Azharuddin 18*)

*** Day 2: India 537/8d, (Sidhu 111, Dravid 69, Tendulkar 143, Azaruddin 126) Sri Lanka 39/1 (Jayasuriya 12*)

-Tendulkar had an all run 4 (due to overthrows). -NM Kulkarni took the wicket of MS Atapattu with his first ball in Test cricket. This was the 12th such occasion in Test cricket.

*** Day 3: Sri Lanka 322/1 (Jayasuriya 175*, Mahanama 115*)

-Mahanama had an all run 4. -ST Jayasuriya and RS Mahanama batted throughout the full day. This was the 12th such occasion in Test cricket.

*** Day 4: Sri Lanka 587/1 (Jayasuriya 326*, Mahanama 211*)

-ST Jayasuriya 340 off 578 balls, 36x4 2x6. 50 off 71 balls, 9x4. 100 off 138 balls, 14x4. 150 off 235 balls, 19x4. 200 off 327 balls, 25x4. - Highest Test score in Sri Lanka (previous: DSBP Kuruppu 201*, Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Colombo (CCC), 1986/87). - Personal Highest Score in First-class cricket (previous: 207* for Sri Lanka 'B' v Pakistan 'B', 1988/89) 250 off 425 balls, 29x4. - Highest Test score by a Sri Lankan (previous: PA de Silva 267 v New Zealand at Wellington, 1990/91). - Highest First-class score by a Sri Lankan and in Sri Lanka (previous: FMM Worrell 285, Commonwealth v Ceylon at Colombo, 1950/51). 300 off 518 balls, 32x4, 1x6. - First ever Sri Lankan to score 300 runs in a Test innings. - Highest Test score against India (previous: GA Gooch 333, England v India at Lord's, 1990). - 4th Highest score in Test history (Highest: BC Lara 375, West Indies v England at St John's, 1993/94). - -RS Mahanama 225 off 561 balls, 27x4 0x6 100 off 244 balls, 10x4 150 off 346 balls, 18x4 - Personal Highest score in First-class cricket (previous: 153 for Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Moratuwa, 1992/93). 200 off 480 balls, 22x4

-ST Jayasuriya and RS Mahanama partnership: 576 runs - Highest Test partnership for any wicket for Sri Lanka (previous: 240* for the 4th wicket, AP Gurusinha and A Ranatunga, v Pakistan at Colombo (PSS), 1985/86). - Highest Test partnership for any wicket in Sri Lanka (previous: 246* for the 6th wicket, JJ Crowe and RJ Hadlee, New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Colombo (CCC), 1986/87). - Highest First-class partnership for the 2nd wicket in Sri Lanka (previous: 289 WAMP Perera and TP Kodikara, Antonians v Rio SC at Colombo, 1992/93). - Highest First-class partnership for any wicket in Sri Lanka (previous: 315 for the 3rd wicket, ST Perera and RS Kalpage, Bloomfield v Antonians at Colombo, 1995/96). - Highest Test partnership for the 2nd wicket (previous: 451 WH Ponsford and DG Bradman, Australia v England at The Oval, 1934). - Highest Test partnership for any wicket against India (previous: 451 Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar at Hyderabad, 1982/83). - Highest Test partnership for any wicket (previous: 467 MD Crowe and AH Jones, New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Wellington, 1990/91). - Highest First-class partnership for the 2nd wicket (previous: 475 Zahir Alam and LS Rajput, Assam v Tripura at Gauhati, 1991/92). - Longest Test partnership for any wicket (previous: 579 minutes, GStA Sobers and FMM Worrell, West Indies v England at Bridgetown, 1959/60). - First ever 500 run Test partnership - First time a partnership remained unbroken throughout 2 complete days of Test cricket. * (Note: Sobers and Worrell in 1959/60 batted throughout 2 days with an hour lost to rain.) - 2nd highest partnership for any wicket in First-class cricket (Highest: 577, VS Hazare and Gul Mahomed, Baroda v Holkar at Baroda, 1946/47).

-Sri Lankan team total 952/6 (Jayasuriya 340, Mahanama 225, A. de Silva 126, A. Ranatunge 86, M Jayawardena 66) - Highest Test score with only 1 wicket fallen (previous: 533/1, West Indies v Pakistan at Kingston, 1957/58). - Highest Test score for Sri Lanka (previous: 547/8 v Australia at Colombo (SSC), 1992/93). - Highest First-class score in Sri Lanka (previous: 549/8d, West Indies v Ceylon at Colombo, 1966/67). - Highest Test score against India (previous: 699/5, Pakistan v India at Lahore, 1989/90). - Highest team total in a Test match (previous: 903/7d, England v Australia at The Oval, 1938). - 3rd highest team total in First-class cricket (Highest: 1107, Victoria v New South Wales at Melbourne, (1926/27).

The highest first innings totals together-1489 for 14 wickets (India 537/8, SL 952/6)

Sri Lanka in a promising performance during their last test series, which was against Pakistan to take it two matches to one.

Coming into the 100th test match in their test cricket history Sri Lanka's previous series was also against the Pakistan, which the Lankans clinched two matches to one.

Although their 99th match, which was against Pakistan ended as a loss, the Lankans did well during that series to win the other two matches under the captaincy of Sanath Jayasuriya and the heroic efforts of world's long standing test captain and player Arjuna Ranatunga.

Sri Lanka won the toss and put the home side into bat and were in a good position after taking three quick wickets to reduce Pakistani's 59 for three and then to bowl them out for a mere 182 runs. In reply although Sri Lanka suffered an early set back Man of the match Aravinda de Silva (112) batted sensibly to take the total upto 353 to take a first innings lead of 151 runs. The Lankan bowlers lost their grip in the second innings and the Pakistanis scored 390 runs to set the Lankans 218 to win.

The Lankans did not find it easy to make runs and only Jayasuriya (56) could resist the determined Pakistani bowling attack, but he was out when the score was at 116 for four. Disaster struck for Sri Lanka when Ranatunga had to retire after being hurt when the score was at 144 for five. Mahela Jayawardena (35) and de Silva (21) were the other run scorers for Lanka all of them were back in the pavilion when Sri Lanka was struggling at 177 for eight with only Muttiah Muralitharan to join Romesh Kaluwitharana at the crease.

But valliant left-handed batsmen Ranatunga decided to go out to the crease with a fractured left thumb. He partnered Kaluwitharana (29*) and batted painfully through to the end to see Sri Lanka reach the victory target.

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