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Following their historic win in Durban, ESPNcricinfo picks the top-five Test victories by Sri Lanka
December 30, 2011
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.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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