Sri Lanka's opportunity to create history
Sri Lanka haven't yet won a Test in the West Indies, but they have an excellent opportunity to change that statistic over the next couple of weeks. West Indies have traditionally been a powerhouse at home, but more recently even their impregnability there has been eroded: in their last eight series, they have lost five and won just two, against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Since 2000, they have lost 14 Tests and won just ten at home; in the 1990s, their win-loss record at home was a far more impressive 19-8.
In ten Tests between the two teams, West Indies have only won two, but both those victories came on home turf, while all five defeats were in Sri Lanka.
West Indies will depend largely on Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, and while the last two have impressive records against Sri Lanka, Gayle has .struggled for runs against them. In five Tests, he has a paltry aggregate of 112, with four ducks in nine innings. His nemesis has been Chaminda Vaas, who has dismissed him six times, four times before he had scored a run. Marlon Samuels has struggled as well, with just 98 runs in five matches.
|Shivnarine Chanderpaul||2||154||51.33||0/ 1|
|Ramnaresh Sarwan||5||438||48.67||0/ 4|
|Denesh Ramdin||2||108||27.00||0/ 1|
|Chris Gayle||5||112||12.44||0/ 0|
|Marlon Samuels||5||98||12.25||0/ 1|
Among the current Sri Lankan batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara has been the stand-out performer against West Indies, averaging nearly 60. Mahela Jayawardene hasn't done badly either, though both his half-centuries against them were scored at home.
|Kumar Sangakkara||7||595||59.50||2/ 3|
|Tillakaratne Dilshan||2||144||48.00||0/ 0|
|Mahela Jayawardene||7||422||42.20||0/ 2|
|Thilan Samaraweera||6||306||38.25||0/ 3|
|Chaminda Vaas||7||175||19.44||0/ 0|
Sri Lanka will miss Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof in their bowling attack, but their two best performers, Muttiah Muralitharan and Vaas, have outstanding numbers against West Indies. In just seven Tests, Vaas has taken 43 West Indian wickets - six of which have been that of their current captain - at an astonishing average of 15.72. Murali isn't far behind, with 70 wickets in ten matches at an average of 17.34.
Vaas, though, has had most of his success against West Indies at home; in two games in the West Indies, he has only managed three wickets at an exorbitant average of 50.75. Murali, on the other hand, has been superb both home and away, with 26 wickets in four Tests in the West Indies, costing him 18.24 runs each.
|Chaminda Vaas||7||43||15.72||3/ 1|
|Muttiah Muralitharan||10||70||17.34||8/ 3|
Gayle v Vaas is obviously the most interesting one - Vaas has ensured that Gayle has only faced 16 deliveries from Muralitharan in Test cricket. Sarwan and Chanderpaul have faced much more of Murali, with mixed success - Sarwan has fallen to Murali five times, and while Chanderpaul has kept Murali at bay, he hasn't scored too many off him.
|Chris Gayle||Chaminda Vaas||114||35||6||5.83|
|Ramnaresh Sarwan||Chaminda Vaas||246||104||3||34.67|
|Shivnarine Chanderpaul||Chaminda Vaas||69||14||2||7.00|
|Ramnaresh Sarwan||Muttiah Muralitharan||358||125||5||25.00|
|Shivnarine Chanderpaul||Muttiah Muralitharan||153||48||0||-|
(For more stats on West Indies-Sri Lanka Tests, click here.)