England end subcontinent drought
Stats highlights from England's series-leveling win at the P Sara Oval against Sri Lanka
- England won their first match in Sri Lanka since their 2-1 series win in 2000-01. They also became only the second team from outside the subcontinent, after Australia, to win a Test in Sri Lanka since that series. During this period, Sri Lanka played 13 series against teams from outside the subcontinent and before this victory today, only Australia had won Tests here (four, over two series). South Africa had lost three out of four Tests, while England had lost by identical 1-0 margins on their last two tours.
- The last time England drew a Test series in the subcontinent was against India in 2005-06. Since then, they'd lost series to Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.
- Sri Lanka's drop in form continued as they failed to win another series. The last time they won a series was against New Zealand at home in 2009. Since then, in eight series they have lost five series and drawn three.
- Graeme Swann added to his four-wicket haul in the first innings with six wickets in the second. It is his second ten-wicket match haul and also the second time he picked up six in an innings in the series. Swann's five-wicket haul is his fourth in the subcontinent. He becomes the first England spinner and the fifth spinner from outside the subcontinent to pick up four or more five-wicket hauls in Asia. Shane Warne leads the list with 11 five-fors.
- Swann's series haul of 16 wickets is the second-best by a visiting bowler in a two-Test series in Sri Lanka after Mohammad Asif's 17 wickets in 2006. The overall record for an overseas bowler in a series in Sri Lanka belongs to Warne, who picked up 26 wickets in three Tests in 2004.
- Spinners from both sides dominated proceedings in the series, picking up 50 wickets out of 72. This haul is the highest for a two-Test series in Sri Lanka, and the second-highest for a two-Test series anywhere. The only two-match series in which spinners picked up more wickets was when Pakistan toured India in 1998-99 - spinners accounted for 55 wickets then. There have been only seven previous series of three or more matches in Sri Lanka when more than 50 wickets have been picked up by spinners. In this Test, 22 wickets fell to spinners, which is the second-highest at the P Sara Oval. In the Test against India in 2010, spinners accounted for 26 wickets.
- The one Sri Lankan batsman who resisted England's bowlers throughout the series was their captain, Mahela Jayawardene, who played 729 balls and scored 354 runs. Only three times has he faced more balls in a series. That list also shows that playing England at home is probably Jayawardene's favourite pastime - three of his four best series, in terms of balls faced, have been in home series against England.
- Captains in the subcontinent usually prefer to bat first after winning the toss, but that strategy clearly hasn't worked at the P Sara Oval - the last six Tests here have all been won by the team batting second. The ground also has an excellent record of producing decisive matches: this is the seventh successsive Test here to produce a decisive result.
- Tim Bresnan took only two wickets in the match and scored five runs, but his mere presence, it seems, works wonders for England: this is his 11th Test, and England have won every one of them. The only other player who played ten or more Tests and didn't lose any is Eldine Baptiste: West Indies won each of the ten Tests he played. The overall record for most Tests won at a stretch since debut belongs to Adam Gilchrist - Australia won the first 15 Tests he played.
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo
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