South Africa in Sri Lanka 2014 July 15, 2014

South Africa look to break 21-year jinx

South Africa have played 12 away series since 2007 and haven't lost a single one. Their last away series defeat, in 2006, was against Sri Lanka

Number of years since South Africa have won a Test series in Sri Lanka. They had achieved it on their first tour there in 1993, when the hosts were beaten 1-0. In their three subsequent tours, they only managed to win one Test, losing two series and drawing one.

Bowling average of South African spinners in Sri Lanka, the only country in which they average over 50. Their economy rate of 3.36 in Sri Lanka is also their worst in any country. In the rest of Asia, South Africa's spinners average 32.83 at an economy rate of 2.96 and a strike rate of 66.4.

Number of Tests South Africa have won in Sri Lanka after the 2000 series. They have lost three and drawn one. Sri Lanka are the only nation in which South Africa have not won a single Test during this period. During the same years, South Africa have an 8-5 win-loss record in the rest of Asia (4-5 excluding Bangladesh).

Number of hundreds scored by Mahela Jayawardene at the SSC - the most by a batsman at a single venue. Don Bradman and Jacques Kallis, with nine hundreds each at the MCG and Newlands, are next on this list. Jayawardene has 2698 runs at the SCC and 2284 runs in Galle (the two Test venues for this series), the top two aggregates in the list of most Test runs scored by a batsman at a venue.

The mean batting average of South Africa's batsmen in Sri Lanka post their readmission. Sri Lanka is the only country where South African batsmen average less than 30. They have only six centuries in 10 matches here.

South Africa's win-loss record in Sri Lanka, the only country apart from Australia and England where South Africa have a negative win-loss record. South have done significantly better in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where they have win-loss records that read 5-5, 2-1 and 4-0 respectively.

4 Number of home series Sri Lanka have lost since 2000, and only one since 2006. Sri Lanka have played 26 home series since 2000 and only lost to England, Pakistan and Australia (twice). Of the remaining 22 series, Sri Lanka won 17 and drew five. South Africa have lost five of the 25 home series during this period.

Number of teams South Africa have beaten in an away series at least once in the period from 2000 to 2014. Sri Lanka is the only country South Africa have not beaten in an away Test series. South Africa's 2-0 loss to Sri Lanka in July 2006 was their last away defeat.

Number of years since Upul Tharanga's last Test, in December 2007 against England in Galle. Only two Sri Lankans have had longer intervals between Tests - Malinga Bandara and Dulip Liyanage. Liyanage played his penultimate Test in January 1994, but had to wait till August 2001 to play his last game. In Bandara's case, after playing his first Test in May 1998, he had to wait till December 2005 to play his second.

Bishen Jeswant in a stats sub editor with ESPNcricinfo. @bishen_jeswant

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mudassir on July 16, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Stats is to show what is to achieve...current SA team is upto it.

  • sourav on July 16, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    Jawardhane has got almost 5000 runs only on two grounds-SSC, Galle. If ponting,sachin, kallis had this luxury they would have definitely scored few thousands more. A batsmen true character comes out when he scores in different conditions on different grounds.I m sorry to the Srilankan fans ,Mahela has not done that.

  • VISHVESH on July 16, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Stats hold true only if the same players are playing the series.. The SA team in 2006 was going through one of its worst phases with pollock the only bowler and ntini a shadow of his career peak ..also d batting wasnt great except for smith n kallis.. but this is a new team now with very good batsmen like amla , abd, du plessis, duminy who play spin very well thanks to ipl.. and good bowlers in steyn n morkel... also SL dont hav d bowling might of murali or vaas..barring mahela n sanga , no one else is a remnant of d previous team.. having said that, SA hav always been weak against spin which has cost them matches time n again and is also d reason they havent been world no. 1 for long or world cup winners ever .. 1996 WC QF against WI-Roger Harper 4-46, 1999 SF against Aus-Warne 4-29, 2003 WC- SL spinners, 2011 QF against NZ- nathan mccullum n hitchcock..they tend to lose wkts in heaps against spinners. So if they play spin well , SA might win and rewrite history..

  • Marcel on July 16, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    today's generation players like ABD, Virat, Amla etc. don't care about past records. they simply play well irrespective of conditions in front of home crowd or away from home crowd. these stats says nothing.

  • c on July 16, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    LALITHKURUWITA: Haha. Stats didn't favor SA in the ODIs either. Food for thought. SL has to be at their best (and a bit more) if they want to take down SA.

  • Lalith on July 16, 2014, 2:36 GMT

    This guys statics favouring SL. IS there any stat that favours SA.

  • Asitha on July 15, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    @Triple_A: Read the stats given in the article. Since 2000, only 5 tests were drawn in SL (out of 26). Yes Mahela & Sanga scores heavily in SL. But, don't they all (good batsmen that is) score loads of runs in home conditions? BTW, the reverse of your question is what we all (in SL) have been asking for years now. How can we (SL) perform well in places like SA, AUS, ENG & WI without ample opportunities? Kallis averages 35 in tests in SL with no centuries. Does it make him less of a player ? NO. He just didn't have enough opportunities & wasn't in his best form when he did. Hope we'll see AB & Amla do better, BUT, SL go on to win the series. It will be tight!

  • King on July 15, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    It's going to be 1-1 draw.... SA only concern will be spin department. Batting order looks good specially Amla & AB in great shape. Mahela & Sanga both eying on this series specially Mahela's last 2 tests against the Africans. Hope this will be a classic test series for both teams. But I want the Lankans to come good against the protees to give a memorable farewell for Maiya.

  • Luka on July 15, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    SA has played only 4 matches in SL in the last 14 years??! Without ample opportunities, it cannot be easy to win matches in SL due to the foreign conditions. I hope SL produce sporting wickets and not flat pitches which produce extremely high scoring, but even more boring test matches. Mahela would like to go out on a winning note, not scoring mega-hundreds in draws

  • Steve on July 15, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    This is the best chance SA had had in a while to wiin a test series in SL. Unstable opening pair, emotion emanating from Mehela's impending retirement, new hopefuls Chandimal and Thrimanne not taken off yet, Senanyake's ban among other things. The only thing going for SL is that they are playing in their own backyard where they are pretty tough to beat. Should be very intersting how it all plays out.

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