Sri Lanka take the stats honours
In terms of stats, Sri Lanka clearly outdid India in the three-Test series which finished in Colombo on Saturday. They scored more runs, lost fewer wickets, and made India sweat through most of the three matches. (It helped, of course, that they won all three tosses.) India, though, capitalised on the only opportunity they got of winning a game, leaving the series tied at 1-1, and their hold on the No.1 rank still reasonably secure.
Sri Lanka's huge totals in the first two Tests meant they averaged almost 60 runs per wicket in the series. They also lost ten fewer wickets than India, who averaged less than 45. Two batsmen from the Sri Lankan team, Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera, averaged more than 100, while two others, Tharanga Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene, had 50-plus averages. The only Indian with a 100-plus average was Suresh Raina, though three others - VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag - averaged more than 65.
The glaring difference, though, was in the bowling stats. The best bowling average among the Indians belonged to Sehwag, who took seven wickets at 27.57. Among the specialist bowlers, Amit Mishra had the best average at 46.75, though that number clearly flattered him. Ishant Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun and Pragyan Ojha, India's leading wicket-taker, all conceded more than 60 runs per wicket. Among the Sri Lankans, though, three bowlers - Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Suraj Randiv - had sub-35 averages.
|Team||Runs||Wickets||Average||Run rate||100s/ 50s|
|Sri Lanka||2079||35||59.40||3.67||6/ 9|
The average partnerships for each wicket also shows how dominant Sri Lanka's top order was: their average stands for the first five wickets all exceeded 50, with the second-wicket partnership being particularly prolific. Their opening pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Paranavitana were consistent as well, with four half-century stands.
India's top-order stands, on the other hand, were patchy. Of the first four wickets, the average partnership was more than 50 only for the third wicket. India were saved by the partnerships for the fifth and sixth wickets, with Tendulkar, Laxman and Raina leading the way: each of them was involved in two century stands for the fifth wicket.
|Wicket||SL - average||100/ 50 stands||Ind - average||100/ 50 stands|
|First||69.40||0/ 4||45.20||1/ 0|
|Second||94.40||2/ 1||34.40||0/ 1|
|Third||63.80||1/ 1||53.80||1/ 1|
|Fourth||76.75||1/ 1||35.20||0/ 2|
|Fifth||50.66||0/ 2||97.60||3/ 0|
|Sixth||20.00||0/ 0||69.50||0/ 3|
|Seventh||23.67||0/ 0||11.75||0/ 0|
|Eighth||52.67||1/ 0||41.00||0/ 2|
|Ninth||82.50||1/ 0||29.75||0/ 1|
|Tenth||14.00||0/ 0||19.00||0/ 0|
For the Sri Lankan batsmen, this series was a fine opportunity to boost their home record against India. In the seven home Tests that Samaraweera has played against India, he averages more than 130, with three centuries and as many fifties. Sangakkara and Jayawardene both average more than 70.
|Thilan Samaraweera||7||652||130.40||3/ 3|
|Kumar Sangakkara||9||892||74.33||4/ 2|
|Mahela Jayawardene||12||1194||70.23||5/ 4|
|Tillakaratne Dilshan||6||401||50.12||1/ 2|
Among the Indians, Rahul dravid was the big disappointment, scoring only 95 runs in five innings. His overall average in Sri Lanka slips to 33.10, which is his lowest in any country. Laxman's unbeaten matchwinner in the last Test is his first hundred in the country, while Tendulkar and Sehwag continued the fine run they've had in Sri Lanka.
|Virender Sehwag||6||692||69.20||3/ 2|
|Sachin Tendulkar||12||1155||67.94||5/ 4|
|VVS Laxman||7||530||48.18||1/ 4|
|Rahul Dravid||12||662||33.10||1/ 4|
Contrasting fortunes against Randiv
One of the fascinating aspects of the series was the performance of debutant Suraj Randiv. He was hardly fazed by the powerful Indian batting line-up, and almost led his side to victory in the third Test. His stats against Sehwag are interesting: Sehwag scored 30 runs off 28 deliveries from Randiv - clearly the idea was to try to take the initiative against the debutant - but Randiv easily had the better of the exchanges, dismissing Sehwag three times. Dravid didn't have a good time against him either, but most of the other Indian batsmen handled him well. Raina and Laxman faced more than 140 deliveries from him without getting out, while Tendulkar fell to him only once. Had Dilshan take that sharp chance offered by him on the last day in Colombo, though, Randiv's final figures in the game, and the series result, could have been very different.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo