Mahela and Murali thrive in Galle
- 16th century Dutch fort overlooks the Galle International Stadium where Sri Lanka have proved difficult to conquer. They've won six out of 12 Tests here, including five in a row between 2000 and 2002, and lost only two. Their recent results aren't so flash: Sri Lanka have not forced a win in their last four Tests at Galle. They drew against England in 2003, lost to Australia and drew with South Africa in 2004 before the tsunami laid waste to the stadium. The first Test after it was rebuilt in 2007, against England, was also drawn despite Sri Lanka dismissing the visitors for 81.
- Having equaled Don Bradman for most centuries at a venue by scoring his ninth at the SSC, Mahela Jayawardene prepares to move on to an even more prolific venue. He's scored 1389 in 17 innings in Galle at an average of 99.21. The rest of Sri Lanka's batsmen have solid, if not spectacular stats in Galle. Even Chaminda Vaas averages 31.58 here.
Sri Lanka's batsmen in Galle Batsman Matches Runs Average 100s Mahela Jayawardene 12 1389 99.21 4 Kumar Sangakkara 9 647 53.91 2 Thilan Samaraweera 5 282 40.28 0 Tillakaratne Dilshan 4 220 44.00 1 Michael Vandort 1 18 18.00 0
- The Indians don't have much experience of playing in Galle. Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan are the only players to have played a Test here. Dravid scored 73 in that Test in 2001, Ganguly made 19. Zaheer took 3 for 89 while Harbhajan bowled 33 overs for his solitary wicket.
- Galle is Muttiah Muralitharan's second most prolific venue after Kandy. He's played only 12 Tests here but picked up 91 wickets at an average of 16.50 and strike-rate of 50.40. In contrast, Vaas' 11 Tests here have brought him only 23 wickets at 33.43 apiece. Murali's effectiveness increases as the match progresses in Galle: his average in the third innings is 15.96 and in the final innings is 12.00.
- Teams have batted after winning the toss in ten out of 12 Tests in Galle. The average per wicket in the first match innings is 37.9. It drops to 33.3 in the second innings, 27.8 in the third and 20.5 in the final innings. Visiting teams average 26.87 per wicket in the first innings, 28.80 in the second, 26.33 in the third, and 22.36 in the fourth.
- Both Sri Lanka and India have two spinners in their bowling attack and, given Galle's history, they will have a crucial role to play. Spinners have taken 217 wickets at 28.06 in 12 Tests here. Fast-bowlers and medium-pacers have 116 wickets at 40.29.
George Binoy is a staff writer at Cricinfo