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ESPNcricinfo's stats editor S Rajesh looks at the stories behind the stats

Sri Lanka's Test and ODI contrast

Outside the subcontinent Sri Lanka have struggled as a Test side, but their ODI results in the last seven years are the best among the subcontinent teams

S Rajesh

January 25, 2013

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene goes for the pull, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 5th ODI, Hambantota, November 12, 2012
Mahela Jayawardene has a poor record in Tests outside the subcontinent in the last seven years, but in ODIs he has been pretty impressive © Associated Press

In the Test matches that they played in Australia, Sri Lanka were hopelessly outclassed: their batting was limp and inconsistent, and the bowling was consistently toothless (except for Rangana Herath). The result was a 3-0 whitewash, which meant their overall Test record in Australia was 11 defeats in 13 Tests, with two draws. Then came the ODIs, which gave Sri Lanka an opportunity to take on the hosts in a format they were far more proficient at. The result was a compelling, hard-fought series, in which the visitors gave as good as they got. Convincing wins in the second and third games put them 2-1 up in the series, a lead which they ultimately surrendered after the fourth game was controversially abandoned and the fifth went Australia's way by 32 runs.

The 2-2 drawn series, though, once again showed what a difference a change in format makes. (Simultaneously, in other parts of the cricketing world, New Zealand recovered from a shellacking in the Tests against South Africa to shock them in the ODIs, while India turned the tables on England after being outplayed in the Tests.)

Sri Lanka's results, though, conform to a pattern they've established when playing international cricket outside the subcontinent. Over the last few years, they've been extremely competitive in the 50-over format outside the subcontinent, even as they've continued to perform below par in Tests. As the table below shows, in the Test series in Australia, the bowlers - especially the pace attack - struggled to pick up wickets; the difference between the runs per wicket scored and conceded in the Tests was more than 21, but in the ODIs it came down to barely two runs, which illustrates just how much more competitive Sri Lanka were in the ODIs (though Australia's changed batting line-up in the ODI series also made it easier for the Sri Lankan bowlers).

Sri Lanka's tour of Australia, 2012-13
  W/ L Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
Tests 0/ 3 24.94 3.05 46.34 3.59
ODIs 2/ 2 24.07 4.43 26.10 4.55

Going further back, to the beginning of 2006, the results show Sri Lanka have won almost as many matches as they've lost in one-day internationals in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa: in 64 games they've won 28 and lost 32. In Tests, though, they've lost ten out of 16, and won only three. They've managed to draw a series each in England and New Zealand, and win a Test in South Africa, but they've lost each of their five Tests in Australia during this period.

As on the tour to Australia, the significant improvement in ODIs over the Tests is in their bowling averages, which drops from 43.86 to 33.17. The batting averages go up too in the ODIs, which makes them a far more competitive team in this format.

Sri Lanka in Tests and ODIs in Aus, Eng, SA, NZ since Jan 2006
Format Matches W/L Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
Tests 16 3/ 10 27.41 3.16 43.86 3.55
ODIs 64 28/ 32 31.14 5.16 33.17 5.25

Comparing the Test and ODI results of Sri Lanka with the two other big teams in the subcontinent - India and Pakistan - show quite clearly Sri Lanka's pre-eminence in the shorter format. While their win-loss in Tests is the worst among the three sides, in ODIs they are the best.

In Tests, both India and Pakistan have a 5-13 win-loss record, compared to Sri Lanka's 3-10. India were 5-5 before their recent free fall, which has resulted in eight successive losses, while Pakistan have been patchy as well, losing 3-0 to both Australia and England during this period. Sri Lanka's ratio is poorer than both those teams, though, and their bowling average of 43.86 runs per wicket is the worst among the three teams.

In ODIs, though, their win-loss ratio of 0.87 is the best among these three sides. (All these stats are matches played against the top sides only, excluding games against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and other non-Test-playing sides.) Sri Lanka have played more matches than the other two - and more than twice as many as Pakistan - and they've been competitive in most of them, once even blanking England 5-0 in 2006. Their bowling average, which was the worst among the three teams in Tests, is the best in ODIs.

Subcontinent teams in Tests in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA since Jan 2006
Team Matches W/ L Ratio Bat ave Bowl ave
India 24 5/ 13 0.38 30.72 40.79
Pakistan 21 5/ 13 0.38 26.53 33.15
Sri Lanka 16 3/ 10 0.30 27.41 43.86
Subcontinent teams in ODIs in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA since Jan 2006 (v top teams only*)
Team Matches W/ L Ratio Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
Sri Lanka 64 28/ 32 0.87 31.14 5.16 33.17 5.25
India 47 17/ 23 0.73 29.64 5.19 34.47 5.45
Pakistan 30 10/ 17 0.58 26.28 4.84 33.60 5.31
* Excludes matches against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and other non-Test-playing sides

Unlike in Tests during this period, where most of Sri Lanka's batsmen have underperformed outside the subcontinent, in ODIs several of them have excelled. Kumar Sangakkara averages more than 42 in these countries during this period, against his overall ODI average of 38.56, while Dinesh Chandimal averages more than 50 in 22 innings, but the stats which best illustrates Sri Lanka's contrasting fortunes in these two formats belong to Mahela Jayawardene. In Tests in these countries during this period, Jayawardene averages 26.15 in 32 innings, with only five scores of more than 50. That's almost half his career average of 49.56. In ODIs, though, Jayawardene has excelled in these conditions, averaging 37.30 in 59 innings, which is four runs more than his career ODI average of 33.20.

Current Sri Lankan batsmen in ODIs in Aus, Eng, NS, SA since Jan 2006
Batsman Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Kumar Sangakkara 57 2294 42.48 78.83 3/ 17
Mahela Jayawardene 59 1977 37.30 86.82 3/ 15
Tillakaratne Dilshan 58 1619 31.13 82.01 3/ 7
Upul Tharanga 32 1099 35.45 74.30 3/ 7
Dinesh Chandimal 22 873 51.35 77.66 1/ 8
Angelo Mathews 26 691 36.36 88.81 0/ 5

However, the biggest difference in averages has been in bowling, and more specifically in the averages of the fast bowlers. In Tests they've conceded more than 57 runs per wicket, but in ODIs it has dropped to a respectable 34.45. The spinners have been slightly more economical than the fast bowlers in ODIs, but they haven't been as effective in taking wickets. The contrast in averages between Tests and ODIs was even more stark for Sri Lanka's seamers on this tour to Australia: in Tests they averaged 59.47 runs per wicket; in ODIs it dropped to 24.06, with Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga, their leading wicket-takers, both averaging less than 20.

Sri Lankan bowlers, in Tests and ODIs in Aus, Eng, NZ and SA since Jan 2006
  Wickets Average Econ rate Strike rate
Tests-pace 94 57.55 3.78 91.1
ODIs-pace 277 34.45 5.26 39.3
Tests-spin 84 31.08 2.92 63.6
ODIs-spin 121 41.86 4.96 50.6

Among the Sri Lankan bowlers, Malinga leads the wicket-takers' list in these countries with 82 in 49 games, at an average of slightly less than 28. Kulasekara took plenty of wickets in Australia, but he hasn't been as successful in other series in these countries, averaging more than 41 runs per wicket. Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, the two oldtimers, are next in the wicket-takers' list with averages in the mid-30s, and those averages have all helped make Sri Lanka a far more competitive side in ODIs outside the subcontinent.

Sri Lankan bowlers who've taken most wickets in ODIs in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA, since Jan 2006
Bowler Matches Wickets Average Econ rate Strike rate
Lasith Malinga 49 82 27.98 5.36 31.3
Nuwan Kulasekara 42 42 41.47 4.95 50.2
Muttiah Muralitharan 33 39 35.76 4.72 45.4
Chaminda Vaas 30 35 33.91 4.57 44.4
Thisara Perera 17 23 27.69 6.14 27.0
Farveez Maharoof 21 21 36.42 5.12 42.6

All ODI stats exclude matches against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and other non-Test-playing sides.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by acnipuna on (January 27, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

Guys why do not you speak the truth SL needs good pace man to do the job No one bowling at 140+ plus regularly No tall fast bowlers, No one bends back to get something from the deck No quality 2nd spinner to help rangana. But mind you that not only bowlers Bats man also didn't do their job. Specially in Australia They should have done better.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 27, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

@Rakesh_Sharma, well I appreciate your comments indeed. Anyway India would have managed pace bowling very well under Tendulkar and Dravid who excelled on green tops even if India played tests in Hobart and Darwin. Now of course they too will struggle for sometime on green tops sans Dravid and Tendulkar. Interesting how Pakistani batters will tackle the SA pace in this tour but they have the bowlers to jolt the SA batters which SL and India lack. Well regarding the traditional venues in Australia I cant give that excuse because we have played our worse test cricket both home and away against Aussies. I agree our performance against England in England has been 50-50 like due to touring in May when colder than in June or July. We get to tour England oly in May or June due to the fact that we host cricket teams normally in July and August each year. Actually we can get prepared for cold English weather if we practice in our coldest city of Nuwaraeliya, which you would nt have not heard of.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 27, 2013, 2:06 GMT)

@RuwanFer, yes the test series against SA which was scheduled for August 2013 has been postponed till June 2015 (see this http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/story/589184.html) to avoid clashing with the useless SLPL. Surely why the hell could nt SLC play the tests in tandem with the SLPL like how ECB has the Friends provident T20 during the test season along with Cricket Australia having BBL during the time tests are played. SLC is useless! We have no meaningful test cricket till December next year when we meet Pakistan in UAE perhaps.

Yeah exactly I agree. We have 3 day cricket and that will be starting shortly. How can we do well in tests without 4 day domestic games. Good point indeed. Hard to expect to have good future in test cricket just by looking at the galore of ODIs we will be playing from June till November this year. At least we should have sent our youngsters like Angelo Perera, K'ratne, Kushal P, Thiri etc to play the 2 tests in the West Indies!

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (January 27, 2013, 1:53 GMT)

@Gaya Maddumarala,I would say Test matches are the ultimate which infact merits any discussion. Having said that I would also agree with @PrasadGunawardane that SL players are with more flair than India and even Pakistan. WE need to keep in mind that SL started playing Test only from 1982 unlike India and Pakistan. A;so , it is to be worth noted that most of the tours of SL to England ,NZ since last few years have been during difficult ( swinging -early cold summer) time. I think one resaon for slightly bad performance in Australia is due to frequent use of non traditional venues for SL Tests for each of their tours.It is only in 2012 they used more traditional venues. I bet Indian performance in Hobart and Port Darwin in swinging uneven and unsettled pitches would be worse.However it is worth appreciating that cricket team of island of just 22 million offers fight just like a team representing an India of 1200 m.Analysis barely shows that SL is worse than India worth highlighting.

Posted by RuwanFer on (January 26, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

It's also interesting to see Mahela's stats only as a top order (1, 2 and 3) batsman.. should be better because all his ODI hundreds in England came as an opener or no 3 batsman.

Posted by RuwanFer on (January 26, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

@Sinhaya It's an interesting stat when u say "But how can we who are the last team to beat SA in a test match on the 29th Dec 2011 (they have not lost after that) and also the last team to beat SA in a test series when they toured which was in August 2006." If I add something to it "We are the only country that canceled a home test series against SA during this period when they are the world's number 1 test team". How about that mate? It's only the SL cricket board can do such heroics!

On the topic; correct me if I'm wrong, when I last checked SL is the only test nation who doesn't play consistent 4-day cricket at 1st class level (we had stop-start tournaments for short periods). How u can expect a bunch of guys who play 1000 ODIs per year with few noobs selected from 3-day cricket to do well in test?

Posted by   on (January 26, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

Cheap comments about road pitch,jealous &ignorantly saying india never wins (check stats, they did win!, and many famous ones abroad too!) Likewise after the south African odi loss, id stick out my neck and say Sri lanka is the most consistent odi side in the world not just now,but 4m a long time now.Its just a pity they didn't win cups, else they would have been 3 times wc champs,t20 champs, cb series champs etc.Also luv mahela forever!But Worst is the jealousy against india.One bad year and look at the green eyed ppl jumping to say india are worse than the worst lol! Another preposterous comment is about how a country with a billion cant produce 10 players!I mean how ignorant can some ppl be!Do you think population in a country has got to do something with great teams!!!?Jeez,this is getting worse day by day!And Pakistanis please, don't insult Pakistan cricket team by bragging too much aftr a couple of series wins. Trust me itl come back to bite you in future!,let them rise in peace!

Posted by kc69 on (January 26, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

In short i can say Test cricket is on life support when it comes to subcontinental teams.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 26, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

@PrasadGunawardane, (continued) Chandimal will be our best fast track weapon. Just look at his test average in the tests in SA and Australia only and the ODI batting average in the games played in Aust, Eng and SA where it is over 50 but he has been poor in Asia. KP too could be like Chandimal who likes fast tracks.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 26, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

@PrasadGunawardane, well I disagree. ODI wickets have been 50-50. The Gabba pitch where we got Aussies all out for 74 was a bowling paradise. The Hobart pitch was a slow one where batting and bowling was tough. Most ODI pitches in Australia help you defend 250 plus scores 90% of the time.

I disagree that Durban is a flat track. It is a spinning track and that was why Herath helped us win the test match there. Lords has been sporty and that is why it has produced results in tests unlike useless SSC.

Yes Mahela is a flat track bully but also one of the best players of spin bowling. His record in Galle simply proves it. Anyway, we have Chandimal, Thirimanne, Karunaratne, Kushal Perera ready to replace them and hopefully in the near future we can get Angelo Perera and Bhanuka Rajapakse in as well, but bowling is the worry. Hope Roshan Jayatissa is good for tests. Just search him on google and look at his espncricinfo profile. (continued)

Posted by spiritwithin on (January 26, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

@ PrasadGunawardane,though india lost 8-0 away from home recently but it does'nt make them a minnow,i d understand u r talking about present situation but only two test series does'nt make any team the world's best or a minnow,yes india lost at home to england but they lost a closely fought series 2-1 to a very good english team,that does'nt make india a minnow,in that case was england a minnow when they lost 3-0 in UAE and then 0-2 at home to SA(before they came to india)??i think no...but offcourse i d know that my team is struggling too much at the moment P.S-i m talking about tests bcoz ODI is not an indicator of a quality

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (January 26, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

@Sinhaya: Correct indeed! When it comes to ODIs, wherever you play, you are getting flat tracks these days. Hence it is not going to be an big issue for any sub-continent batsmen. The main reason for SL's downfall in TEST in the backyards like SA,AUS and ENG is bounce and movement. (I am not adding the pace since any good batsmen like to have the pace to hit). IF you take Mahela, his highest score is 49 in TEST Cricket except at Lords, Durban and SCG. Those venues are traditionally maintained as flat tracks by respective nations. So the downfall of Mahela is one of the key factors for the downfall of SL in TESTs.Other point is, incapability of Lankan pacemen to extract those conditions. Based on these, i never keep Mahela among top of the TEST players for SL. Sangakkara is the best ever TEST batsman SL produced next to Aravinda. On the other way, Mahela and AB have most no. of shots in ODIs where flat tracks are mainly offered.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 26, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

@PrasadGunawardane, (CONTD) Yes we have something to boast about our ODI achievements in Australia and England in particular. We would have won the ODIs against SA last year 3-2 if not for rain in the 3rd ODI at Blomfontein where D/L calculations came in.

We did reasonably well in the tests in England in 2011 to keep it down to 1-0. We should have drawn the Cardiff test but the last day last session comedy cost us. Lords test was a draw with Dilshan's 193. Third test we may have lost if not for rain. All of these worries problems in tests we have faced in England, Australia and SA is simply due to our weakness against pace and bounce.

India has a better test record than us in Australia, England and SA in the last decade largely due to Dravid and Tendulkar who are the best ever south asians who tackled pace. India too for a while will struggle on green tops.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 26, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

@PrasadGunawardane, yes you are correct when I went through your comments posted (January 25 2013, 14:51 PM GMT). But analyzing this article, our test record in South Africa barring the test win in Durban and our test record in Australia is forgetful. In England, we made it 1-1 in tests in 2006 but in 2007 India won the test series 1-0. Of course in ODIs we beat England 5-0 in 2006 in contrast to India losing the ODIs 3-4 in 2007. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, India got 2 test wins in Australia, whilst we managed none. India won 2 tests in SA during the period 2000 to 2010 in contrast to just one win by us. This is where our weakness in tests has got exposed in the bouncy pitches. I was quite nervous on how we will fair in Australia after NZ bowlers rammed through us at the P Sara 2 months ago. (Continued)

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (January 26, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

@sannthu_ckt and @Sinhaya: I am not talking about India vs SL head to head record. Simply this article even does not depict it at all. Hence the real analysis should be, how sub-continent teams have performed against outside nations in RECENT PAST at home or away. So stick to the main analytical points. Those are 1. Sub-Continent teams against outside nations 2. Only recent past records 3) I wanted to reply in analytical manner for some jealous comments made by Indians.(So go through again with my previous three comments). So any bilateral series between sub-continent teams are not going to be a valid point at all for this analysis. So relax your mind and make your mind calm; then only you gentlemen would be able to understand the analysis on the recent performances of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan under the above three criteria! Eventually it is proved the points made in my last three comments are correct!

Posted by   on (January 26, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

Like Hiran Thomas says,such jealous comments r the ones that makes one lose respect for countries even! Lol at fighting over crumbs, I mean 3-10 and 5-13 isnt so different anyways! Jeez. Pakistan has always shown promise only to disappoint us sooner or later. Srilanka rarely won good test series abroad. India finally showed they might be consistent abroad until the last year n a half when they were absolutely destroyed abroad and in india. And now about foreign teams, be it aus or England , they haven't won that many series in india too! S.A did win a couple(just a couple) but they did lose at home too to others! As for Wi and NZ they ..well we know about that. I mean what are we trying to prove here lol! A biased bunch saying performances on the subcontinent is unworthy it seems! Why? Cos your pitches are different? Real mature! Don't you think you should prepare batting pitches so that you can win in india then?

Posted by sannthu_ckt on (January 25, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

@ PrasadGunawardane I am not getting what general anaysis u r talking about please atleast give valuable reasons not just anything crap which comes to ur mind 1) 4-1 series win for India against SL in SL was the latest bilteral series both Ind and SL playes against each other 2) 3-1 head to head was in the latest CB series ( the tri-nation ODI series between Ind , Aus and SL ) which followed the test series loss which India faced and that was the last both teams met in a multination tournament outside subcontinet) 3) And regarding your suggestion of general analysis , SL has never won a series against India in India at any point of time. 4) If u see my reply i never brought Pak or infact any other country i was all talking about Ind Vs SL. 5) Yes Ind lost against ENG and AUS and I admit that., I know why u have conveniently misssed Ind losing against aus

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 25, 2013, 18:52 GMT)

@PrasadGunawardane, I disagree on your comments about India. At least if we won the SCG test against Aussies we can boast. But honestly our ODI record against India since 2008 is simply awful. In 2008 August we lost 3-2, in 2009 Feb we lost 4-1 and last year August also we lost 4-1. All 3 of these losses were at home and that is something forgetful. Yes we did dominate India in the late 90s and even in 2001 when Sanath scored 189. Sadly it has come to a point where India is owning our cricket and that if not for Indian money we wont have any future in cricket!

We have a decent record against other teams recently but since 2011 world cup, we have struggled a lot to win series and that needs to be addressed.

India had an miserable tour of England in 2011 but in the 2 previous tours before that in 2002 and 2007 they did well.

I am crossed with India over the DRS issue indeed. But I thank India for making cricket the global minority sport the 2nd most popular team sport in the world.

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

I think the administrators should keep all the criticizing comments out of the blog since its those envy and criticizing comments that divides the countries further than bring fans together, I mean I have watched and loved Ind cric, but its the negative comments from the fans that makes me lose the respect and the support for Ind team. Also SL fans also should not get carried away when SL win one or two matches since we have the most unpredictable and inconsistent side the world has ever seen. I suppose its better if everyone understand bashing each other is not the logic behind these articles but to read and enjoy them, then if you wish to give your opinions based on a friendly manner without making these forums a battle grounds of hatred and division. the key difference between Rugby,soccer and cricket is that in cricket Players and the fans both are part of the Gentlemen s game, so please live up-to the reputation of the game friends. thanx

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (January 25, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

@sannthu_ckt:If you say stats in randomly picked series wise, then it can be stated that SL won against IND 2-0 head to head during 1996 WC including the big semi final..Don't stick to specific tournaments when discussing, instead try to come up with a general analysis. Bare in mind that, it was spoken about the current form; not about Kapil Dev era or Ganguly era or Sanath Jayasuriya era..Loosing the entire series of two months with NO win at all to England in England in 2011, Loosing to England in TEST badly at home in real sub-continent conditions and loosing to Pakistan again at home in front of huge crowd are saying the story for India! The recent records of SL lost to Ind, Pak lost to SL and Ind lost to Pak never help to measure three nations. Hence you have to analyze going beyond that and considering how each team has performed against others particularly at home and away as well!

Posted by sannthu_ckt on (January 25, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

@ PrasadGunawardane : Please think before you write something. If you say India is Minnow , then you remember SL lost 4-1 in SL to the same Minnow recently and last time they both met in Aus it was 3-1 head to head. If you consider Past , India reached Semifinals of 2003 WC in SA and won the first T20WC in SA , won the CB in AUS and Natwest in ENG. Its fans like you ( from both the side) who bring disgrace to the other cricket fans .

And by the way SL is yet to win a Series against INDIA in INDIA ( so called minnows)

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (January 25, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

@Sinhaya: agree! To me Pakistan is the best TEST team in the sub-continent at the moment with an all-round bowling attack. Sri Lanka is the best ODI team in the sub-continent for sure with class, talent and innovation. Indians must be shamed and Indians can be matched to Bangladesh type team as follows;. India have all flat tracks with less bounce, less spin, less competitiveness compared to limited innovative venues in SL like RPS,P Sara, SSC,Galle,Dambulla,Pallekale and Hambantota. In fact SL provide almost all the conditions. If somebody says SL played almost all 2011WC matches in SL, then India played all matches in India. If you take 2007 WC in Caribbean (Thousands miles away from Asia) where SL were the runners-up while India were knocked off even before Bangaldesh. In 2009 T20WC in Eng where SL and Pak were the finalists while India were no where. Ind lost all matches in 2011 England tour including the practice match! Ind lost home Test series to Eng. These show India= MINNOW!

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (January 25, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

The set of comments show some jealously and sadness of some people. The truth is, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the most talented two sides in sub-continent with innovative players. At the beginning of Sri Lanka's tour, Australians and many were saying that it would be the end of Sri Lankan Cricket after Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan and Samaraweera. However, Sri Lankans proved those sayings were wrong during the same tour itself by attacking to Aussies from pure youngsters like, Thirimanna, Kushal, Chandimal and Dimuth. Surely one guy is waiting to bamboozle Aussie, he is none other than Akhila during T20 series.. Sri Lanka have many youngsters who are even averaging more than 45 in first class and they will be taken to arena slowly but surely.If you take Indian team picked by the 2nd most populated country in the world, they have not yet found players to cope up with all conditions. Pakistan have done slightly better. One thing is for sure that, little Sri Lanka's Cricketing future is bright!

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (January 25, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

@first_slip...what is there to envy Srilank's dude...We beat them in 2011 world cup finals, recently visit to Srilanka, we have won the ODI series....just like us, Srilanka are whitewashed in Aus..so what is there to envy...I fact, i feel you are much favored to srilanka as they never have better record against Aus & india ended the domination of Aus during 12+ test matches win trot & almost won test cricket in Aus during the farewell of Steve Waugh, the legend...

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 25, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

@bravetigersmustwin, kindly check the matches we played in the 2011 world cup. We played in Colombo, Kandy as well as Hambantota. Check thouroughly please. Our pitches being dusty such as the RPS in Colombo and Galle mean they are spin friendly and not flat beds. Come on men, how can we be minnows? We did not play well in the tests due to our pure negligence. But how can we who are the last team to beat SA in a test match on the 29th Dec 2011 (they have not lost after that) and also the last team to beat SA in a test series when they toured which was in August 2006.

I agree our bowling must improve a lot to match the Vaas Murali period when we won many test matches. Also we must find a replacement for Sanath Jayasuriya too. At the moment it is Pakistan the best sub continent team as they won a test match in England in 2010 with all controversies. They rammed over England 3-0 in UAE with little fan support.

Posted by sannthu_ckt on (January 25, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

@Sulaimaan. Have you clearly seen the statistics before commenting. You need to look at the stats before stating that India's bowling resources are below par. In tests Indian bowling average is 40.79 while for SL it is 43.86 ,which implies Indian bowling is better compared to SL and in ODIs averages are almost equal 33.17 for SL and 34.37 for India. I am not telling that India bowling is greater than SL but they are not below par as you state. Cheers

Posted by faizan_feroz on (January 25, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

no surprise at all , being a pakistani and a cricket viewer one can simply say that u see a deffernt sl in odi and a comparitively weaker test side due to absence of murali malinga perhaps. in odis we see a different Dilshan Mathews with t.perera and mendis with the likes of the two greats jaya and sanga ! a very competitive and balanced one day team :)

Posted by Sulaimaan91 on (January 25, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

some people seem to be very hurt, statistics dont lie, learn to appreciate others achievements.Although Tests are indeed the pinnacle, ODI's are equally tough and require great amounts of skill as well. Of the three subcontinent teams performance, SL and Pak have better bowling attacks while SL has the edge over Pak in the batting department.For India, although they have a great batting lineup some of these very good ODI players(Rain,Gambhir) struggle outside the subcontinent while India's bowling resources have always been poor.This is what shows in these statistics, SL have a more rounded team not to mention their fielding is way better than the other two subcontinental teams.

Posted by first_slip on (January 25, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

@PhaniBhaskar24 and @bravetigersmustwin, i guess you two are from India, i am an Aussy, to be Honest SL is the only well rounded cricket team in Sub Continent. True they are not doing well in Test but still they are Million times better than so called best Sub Continent Team. Talking About Sri lanken Pitches, apart from the one at SSC other srilanken pitches are very sporty and aid everybody unlike those roads in India, far as i can see your comments are purely based on jealousy at Small Nation called Sri lanka coz you know they are doing way better than your country which have billion in Population compare to few millions in sri lanka, just give them a break, and care about your team.

Posted by bravetigersmustwin on (January 25, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

why victory in subcontinent was never appreciated and portraying victory outside sub continent as a big thing. Except Eng and NZ, WI, SA(few pitches) and few pitches in aus behave like the ones in SL (dusty pitches). Only becoz of that SL made to finals in 2007 and in 2011 they played almost all the matches in colombo which is very comfortable for them. SL stand above the minnows nothing more than that(as of now). Im not denying the fact they once ruled the world cricket during ranatunga period.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (January 25, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

Come on guys...Srilanka these days are not consdiered a worthy opponent as compared during their hay days of Ranatunga..hence all the teams have started experimenting when they went to tour & hence such results in ODI's...even recently Aus, have played 15+ members agains Srilanka & even in such case, chasing 74 is a cause of concern for Srilanka..with all due respect to srilanka team..there are lot of loop holes in the team starting from Openers, settled middle order, worthy keeper..this article highlights the recent glory..( its just because of their bowling glory, in WC SL manages to be in Final)

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

with due respect to everyone who says test is the best, may be but as far as I'm concern what matters is the entertainment and a win, whats the point of watching a test match for 5 days when the result is a draw. True that SL don't play test well, but win against AUS ,Eng,SA and Nz against their own backyard is always a great achievement.

Posted by Jason_Mcphee on (January 25, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

Top Article mate, Srilanka has always been a good one day side, especially after their Worldcup Glory, Pak has been a good test side as they always had quality bowlers but I am surprised to see India losing just 13 matches on fast tracks, as they haven't won nothing for some time in these countries, bowling win you matches and Indian bowling hasn't been in good shape throughout their history, their batting is sliding down too.

Posted by ClownBOY on (January 25, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

@Jesse Waghorn - I don't understand what do you mean by weak bowling attack..we bowled out AUS for 74 and 170 in this series....and we were the finalists in last WC finals....even in the test matches it's our batting let us down...in last test if we had some total more than 141 we could have given a good fight more than that....don't forget AUS were 141 for 5 in that match...and our top bowlers doesn't play test becoz of their injuries....last time when Malinga toured NZ they were humiliated....to be best in any format of cricket you have to have the talent....you can't just get away with small talent and lots of luck...saying that subcontinent teams are only good at shorter format is a made up saying by you guys....you say that to cover that you are not good at shorter format anymore.....you need more courage to play shorter format than test... because all the tactics should be done at correct time...and there will be no another over to correct yourself......

Posted by gestapo on (January 25, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

ODIs are not remembered, only something significant like the WC is remembered.But Test series are remembered for a long log time. In T20 and odi , bits and pieces players can fetch you victories on their given day, but Tests will expose the shortcomings of a team. In t20 all one bowls is 4 overs and done,, in tests u need to bowl for four days sometimes, so if u don't have the stuff,u would be running for cover. Take Afridi ,Bevan, Yuvraj for example, all brilliant ODI players ,but can they be viewed in the same breath as Lara, Sachin or Ponting? No cos the other three have excelled at the Test level too.

Posted by Meety on (January 25, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

@Gaya M - I believe SL will be a front-runner for the 2015 WC, mainly if Sanga & Mahela play as well as Malinga. Tests are the best, but I love ODIs even when your mob bowled us out for 74! Its T20s I couldn't give a preverbial about! I do believe you are wrong about "...At the end people doesn't remember who was the no 1 team in the year of 2005..." - fans do remember that & they remember individual Tests & series for a lot longer than any ODIs (barring W/C Finals). IMO - the reason why SL are not doing well in ODIs at the moment is due to the anture of Lankan FC pitches. The last time I looked, you had to go to #15 on the leading wicket takers list to fond a pace bowler. I believe that SL are making some of the pitches pace-friendly which is a good thing & SHOULD lead to an upward swing in overseas performance. Pace bowlers win matches outside the sub-c & without Malinga, SL have been a bit toothless. Fingers crossed that Eranga & Kulasekara can fill that Test void.

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

I don't know what is the reason for SL's test downfall.But i'm pretty sure it's nothing to do with talent.I think it's lack of concentration and a mind block.It seems like SL doesn't want to play test anymore.They are playing it just for the sake of playing it.I don't see huge problem in it as the money going around in shorter format is huge.But atleast having separate teams for tests and ODI/T20 might help this course.

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (January 25, 2013, 4:04 GMT)

Test is what matters mate... Not ODIs or Tests...

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

2015 in Australia,Here we come for the world cup once again!! BTW to people who are saying test is better and ODI means very little,get over with it.Yes test is the best but you are not better in ODIs doesn't mean ODI is less valuable.Ask yourself if you're given a choice of winning the 50 over world cup or no.1 in tests,what would you chose?At the end people doesn't remember who was the no 1 team in the year of 2005,but all the teams who won the world cups.isn't it?

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

ODIs mean very little. Test Matches are the true test of talent and mental strength. In ODIs you can get away with a weak bowling attack, but there is nowhere to hide in tests (as Sri Lanka have showed)

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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