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When India won her first overseas series for seven years

By the time the Indians next toured Sri Lanka in 1993-94, the equations had changed. Sri Lanka, no longer spring chickens in the Test arena, had a particularly enviable record at home. And India, fresh from four consecutive Test victories - albeit on helpful pitches in India - were in the midst of a successful run under Md Azharuddin's captaincy. Predictably, there were expectations of a high profile series between two sides who were enjoying an upswing in their fortunes. But this never really came about. Again the relations between the two teams were soured thanks to the umpiring and match referee Peter Burge was kept busy with complaints, mainly from the Indians. This and the fact that the first Test was badly affected by rain made it a middling rather than an absorbing contest.

Indeed, the heavy downpour at Kandy during the first Test made it the shortest ever Test. Only 12 overs - 49 minutes of play - were possible on the second day compared to 17.2 overs and 50 minutes in the match between England and Australia at Nottingham in 1926. Ironically, the rest day was the sunniest of the week but the Sri Lankan Board said there was no provision in the playing conditions to make use of it. In the brief interlude of cricket, Sri Lanka put in to bat, were 24 for three. About the only item of note was Kapil Dev playing his 125th Test match, equalling the Indian record held by Sunil Gavaskar.

Ten days later, at the SSC in Colombo, India won the second Test by 235 runs. It was both historic and notable. Historic because it was the first win by India in a Test on Sri Lankan soil and notable because it was their first victory in 27 overseas Tests since beating England at Leeds in 1986. In the interim period, India had lost ten Tests and drawn 16.

India had led off with 366 thanks in the main to Vinod Kambli's 125. The Bombay left hander scored his third successive century in Tests, following his 224 against England and 227 against Zimbabwe the previous season. Anil Kumble (5 for 87) then kept the Sri Lankans down to 254 despite a gallant 88 by the captain Arjuna Ranatunga. The lead of 112 was extended by a first wicket partnership of 171 by Manoj Prabhakar (95) and Navjot Sidhu. The latter, who got 82 in the first innings, scored 104, his fourth century in Tests. Sachin Tendulkar with an unbeaten 104, his sixth century in Tests, maintained the momentum and India were able to declare at 359 for four on the penultimate afternoon. Left with a monumental target of 472 - or more realistically nine hours to play out time - Sri Lanka were progressing along well at 180 for three before they slid sharply to 236 all out despite a patient six-hour vigil by Aravinda de Silva who was out for 93.

Eight days later, with a drawn Test at the Saravanamuttu stadium in Colombo, India had clinched an overseas series triumph for the first time since they won in England in 1986. Aravinda de Silva with a splendidly crafted 148 helped Sri Lanka to reach 351. But the bowlers could make no headway against the strong Indian batting line up. Vinod Kambli got his fourth hundred in five Tests - including Kandy where he did not get to bat - and Prabhakar, Tendulkar and Azharuddin all crossed the half century mark. With India replying with 446 by midafternoon on the fourth day, the fate of the series had been decided and about the only interest left in the game was whether India would register a second successive win. But the home team comfortably saved the game. With opener Roshan Mahanama getting 151 with 19 fours in 520 minutes and sharing a fifth wicket partnership of 132 runs with Hashan Tillekeratne (86), Sri Lanka closed with 352 for six. An interesting statistical sidelight was Kapil Dev, close to becoming the highest wicket taker in Tests, notching up another landmark. He passed Lance Gibbs' record of 27,115 deliveries in Test cricket.

If the proceedings of the Tests were rather lukewarm, the three one day internationals provided all the excitement associated with the shorter version of the game. India won the first by one run with four deliveries to spare, while Sri Lanka took the second by eight runs with four deliveries left. The home team won the decider by four wickets with three deliveries to spare. Azharuddin displayed splendid form with scores of 53, 62 and 85, the last innings making him India's top run getter in ODIs with 4114 runs, surpassing K Srikkanth's 4092.