Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2014 August 4, 2014

Herath, the bowling machine

A stats preview to Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka 2014

Rangana Herath has bowled more overs and taken more wickets in Test cricket than anyone else in the first seven months of 2014 © AFP

22 Number of years since either Pakistan or Sri Lanka have beaten the other in consecutive Test series. In the 10 years between 1982 and 1992, these teams played each other in four Test series, with Pakistan winning three and the other being drawn. In the fourteen series since then, the ten series that have had winners have been alternately won by both teams. The last series that had a winner was played in 2012, with Sri Lanka winning on that occasion.

The last ten Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test series' that have not ended in draws
Series Start Date Matches Winner Margin
June 2012 3 Sri Lanka 1-0
October 2011 3 Pakistan 1-0
July 2009 3 Sri Lanka 2-0
March 2006 2 Pakistan 1-0
March 2002* 1 Sri Lanka 1-0
June 2000 3 Pakistan 2-0
February 2000 3 Sri Lanka 2-1
March 1999* 2 Pakistan 1-0
September 1995 3 Sri Lanka 2-1
August 1994 2 Pakistan 2-0
*The 1999 and 2002 series' shown in the above table are based on the encounters between these two teams during the Asian Test Championship played in those years.

435 Number of overs that Rangana Herath has bowled this year, the most by any bowler (the Abu Dhabi Test which started on Dec 31 2013 has not been considered for this stat). He is well ahead of the next player on the list, England fast bowler James Anderson, who has bowled 282 overs in six Tests. Herath has taken 33 Test wickets in 2014, which is the also most wickets for the year, though not by a margin proportionate to the number of overs that he has bowled.

37 The bowling average of Sri Lankan spinners against Pakistan since 2001, and also of Pakistani spinners against Sri Lanka in the same period. Both teams have quality spinners and are known to play spin well.

Performance of spinners since 2001
Team Opposition Matches Wickets Average ER SR 5 wkts
Pakistan v Sri Lanka 19 123 37.04 2.74 80.9 4
Sri Lanka v Pakistan 19 110 37.89
2.81 80.6 4

9 Number of Tests that Sri Lanka and Pakistan have played against each other in their last three Test series, the first of those starting on 18 October 2011. Since then, only Australia and England have played more Tests against each other - ten. In their history, Sri Lanka have played 46 Tests against Pakistan, which is far more than they have played against any other Test nation. For context, Sri Lanka have played only 48 Tests against Australia (26) and South Africa (22) combined.

80 Kumar Sangakkara's career batting average against Pakistan in Tests (80.19). This is his highest batting average against any top-eight Test nation. He has scored 2486 runs against Pakistan in 19 Tests, which is the second highest number of runs scored by a batsman against a single opposition since the turn of the century. Sachin Tendulkar, with 2528 runs against Australia, is the only batsman to have scored more, but he needed 27 Tests. This is also the most runs ever scored by a batsman in Tests between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Second on this list is Younis Khan with 1808 runs. While Misbah-ul-Haq may not have scored as many runs (860), he does average an impressive 53.75 against Sri Lanka.

1.50 Pakistan's win-loss ratio against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Pakistan are the only away team apart from Australia to have a positive win-loss ratio in Sri Lanka. Pakistan have won six matches there and lost only four. They also lost one neutral match against Australia in 2002. Including this match, their win-loss ratio in Sri Lanka comes down to 1.20.

12 Number of times that Sri Lanka have played Pakistan since the Lankan team bus was attacked by armed gunmen on 3 March 2009, midway through a Test series. While no team has travelled to Pakistan since then, it is ironic that, Sri Lanka have played more Tests against Pakistan than any other team. Since the attack, Pakistan have played only 43 Tests, with only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh having played fewer games.

57 Number of wickets that Saeed Ajmal has taken against Sri Lanka, his highest against any country. This is largely because he has played 12 Tests against Sri Lanka and not more than six against any other opposition. Despite the bunch of wickets, his strike rate against them is a below-par 73.7. He only strikes at a lower frequency against Australia and New Zealand, against whom he has played only one Test each.

2.85 Pakistan's mean run-rate in Test cricket from 2011 to 2014. Every Test playing nation apart from Zimbabwe scores at a run-rate in excess of three. Pakistan's batsmen have generally not been at their best in this period, scoring only 26 centuries in all, with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe featuring below them on that list. Their mean batting average of 31.53 makes them look only slightly better, with only West Indies and New Zealand doing worse than them apart from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Bishen Jeswant is a stats sub editor at ESPNcricinfo.@bishen_jeswant

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sachit on August 6, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Rangana Herath is best left arm spinner in world today. Really world class. After departure of great Muralitharan, Rangana really scaled up to fit himself into those grand shoes.

  • c on August 5, 2014, 23:58 GMT

    Additional stats to remember about Galle: 23 Tests with 17 of them producing outright results with SL winning 12 out of 17. Teams that win the toss won 11 of them while team losing the toss have won on 6 occasions. Both teams have played spin well against each other - meaning even Murali would not have been much of a factor against PAK, let alone Herath.

    A note on this article: Herath has not being bowling well in Tests for nearly two years now. Therefore, it is perhaps accurate to say if he had been bowling anywhere near as good as he can be then there would not have been a need for him to have bowled all those overs - and SL wins would have been much better against all comers in the last two years. SL needs a strike bowler who strikes!

  • Rajiv on August 5, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    But still pathetic average. Bowling 100 overs and picking a wicket is not world class.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Very good analysis Bishen

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2014, 14:46 GMT

    These are some magnificent engaging facts.

  • Dysan on August 5, 2014, 10:46 GMT

    only Stuart Binny can overtake him.

  • Akram on August 5, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    Liked this lovely article

  • Amantha on August 5, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Interesting and intriguing !!

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Horrible figures for that many overs...

  • Malik on August 5, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Good and interesting stats

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