Sri Lanka June 24, 2014

Sri Lanka's greatest Test victories

ESPNcricinfo staff
Following their historic win at Headingley, ESPNcricinfo picks some of Sri Lanka's top Test victories

England, The Oval, 1998
The one-off Test was almost a sideshow for England, who were fresh from beating South Africa and looking ahead to the Ashes in the winter. Sri Lanka were world champions at the one-day game, but still weren't seen as serious contenders in the Test format. England seemed in charge as centuries from Graeme Hick and John Crawley pushed them to a strong 445 despite Muttiah Muralitharan's seven wickets. The stars of Sri Lanka's World Cup victory then showed their Test prowess - Sanath Jayasuriya clobbering 213 and Aravinda de Silva getting a more sober 152 - to leave England 146 behind. Murali then produced one of the all-time great bowling performances, grabbing 9 for 65 to engineer Sri Lanka's first away win against England.

South Africa, Colombo, 2006
Mahela Jayawardene had just scored an epic 374 at the SSC, but it wasn't even his finest innings of the two-Test series. A week later, Jayawardene was the architect of what was then the sixth-highest chase in Test history as Sri Lanka thrillingly hunted down 352 with one wicket to spare. In a match where teams reached 300 in each of the four innings, Jayawardene seemed to have sealed it for Sri Lanka as his century shepherded them to within 19 runs of victory at lunch on the final day with four wickets remaining. But his dismissal, 11 short of the target meant Farveez Maharoof had to do the job with Sri Lanka's usual match-winners - Murali, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga - only with the bat this time.

India, Colombo, 1985
Just three years after gaining Test status, Sri Lanka secured their first win, in only their 14th match. Wicketkeeper and opening batsman Amal Silva starred with a century in the first innings and nine dismissals, but there were other headliners as well: Roy Dias made two stylish half-centuries, and Rumesh Ratnayake was the most successful of a seam trio that took 19 wickets in the game. Despite half-centuries from three of their big names - Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath - India could only muster 244 to concede a huge first-innings lead. Sri Lanka then briskly ran up 206 for 3, setting a target of 348. Ratnayake ripped through the middle order, and despite a 78 from Kapil Dev, Sri Lanka won by 149 runs, sparking jubilation across the country. A public holiday was declared in Sri Lanka to mark the occasion.

New Zealand, Napier, 1995
With their World Cup win still a year away, Sri Lanka were still seen as one of the weaklings of world cricket when they set off for the tour of New Zealand in 1994-95. A green track in Napier awaited them, as different from home conditions as possible, but they hadn't counted on a 21-year-old Chaminda Vaas turning in a star-making performance. In a match where only one team made it past 200 in four innings, Vaas made the difference both with bat and ball - a ten-wicket haul was complemented by priceless innings of 33* and 36. Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper, the now forgotten Chamara Dunusinghe, top scored with 91 on debut and also took seven catches as Sri Lanka won their first Test away from home by the massive margin of 241 runs.

Pakistan, Faisalabad, 2004
Sri Lanka's overall record away from home may not be great, but they have enjoyed plenty of success in Pakistan. In 2004, even in the absence of perennial match-winner Murali, Sri Lanka began their series with a thumping victory in Faisalabad. As in Durban, Thilan Samaraweera made a first-innings century after the top order disappointed, and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath picked up plenty of wickets in both innings. What really changed the game, though, was a Jayasuriya double-century in the second innings - he was uncharacteristically subdued early on before opening out in a blaze of big-hitting to put the match beyond Pakistan's reach. It was Sri Lanka's 11th Test win overseas, and their sixth in Pakistan.

South Africa, Durban 2011
In their previous three tours to South Africa, Sri Lanka had lost six of their seven Tests - three of them by an innings. Moreover, Muttiah Muralitharan, who had featured in each of Sri Lanka's eight Test wins outside the sub-continent, had retired in July 2010, leaving a question mark on Sri Lanka's ability to take 20 wickets. In the first Test of the 2011 series, Sri Lanka were blown away by Vernon Philander's ten-wicket haul. A scoreline of 162 for 5 on the first day of the second Test in Durban didn't raise much hope. Thilan Samaraweera showed first signs of fight with a 111-run stand for the sixth wicket with debutant Dinesh Chandimal, then went on to complete his century to take Sri Lanka past 300. It was, however, Chanaka Welegedara's early strikes that stirred Sri Lanka as they dismissed South Africa for 168. Buoyed by a hefty first-innings lead, Sri Lanka were driven further ahead by Kumar Sangakkara's 108 and Chandimal's second half-century of the match. A target of 450 would have been inconceivable at the start of the match and Sri Lanka didn't let the opportunity slip. Rangana Herath, who had four wickets in the first innings, added five more in the second to set up a famous 208-run win.

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  • LANKALOVER on June 25, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    All the Lankan legends of yesteryears viz. Sanath - the Terror, Aravinda, Arjuna, Murali, Vaas, etc., etc. will be proud of this achievement. Though an Indian by nationality, my heart is always with the Lankan Lions and wish them all success.

    VSK Iyer/Lanka Lover Chennai, INDIA

  • LANKALOVER on June 25, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    @Wapuser: There is NO diffrence in the playing conditions or pitches of India and SL, mind it. Your Indians were beaten to consecutive innings defeats in 2008 by the Lankan Lions.

    Long Live SL cricket.

    VSK Iyer/Lanka Lover Chennai, INDIA

  • vadlamanikkk on June 25, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    great show by lanka they had the zeal to compete with out malinga,murali and co

  • wapuser on June 25, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    Sri lanka has not been able to win a test match against india in india

  • Hemanga1 on June 25, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    I think 1995 Faisalabad win was more greater than these. That time Pakistan not been beaten by any country other than West Indies at home for 26 years. We were thrashed by an innings in first test. Like this one started 2nd innings with 110 behind and defended only 250 in 4th innings. Won by just 43 runs

  • Lion_96 on June 25, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    Headingly 2014, is Sri Lanka's best Test Win away from home. I wonder what were the odds on Sri Lanka winning this Test Series at the start of the English Summer

  • GreatWhiteBrotherhood on June 25, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Where is England, Nottinghamshire, 2006 ? It was also a great victory.

  • VinothSam on June 25, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    This is the last England tour for Mahila and Sanga and they won it with style. Glad to see we are improving well. Time to make our team in top 3 in test ranking.

  • maverick.arora on June 24, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    Hearty congratulations to Sri Lanka. I wish there was a third Test match, but nevertheless, this is a great victory especially for Sangakara & Mahela. Good show guys & all the best for South Africa at home.

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