Spin plays a pivotal role as expected, but only for the hosts
18.50 Bowling average of Sri Lanka spinners in the series; they took 54 of the 60 Australia wickets that fell in the series striking every 41.5 deliveries, with three five-wicket hauls from Rangana Herath and one from Dilruwan Perera. In comparison, Australia's spinners took 24 wickets at an average of 38.29 with a best of 4 for 123 by Nathan Lyon.
54 Wickets taken by Sri Lanka spinners - the most by them in a series. Their previous best was a tally of 50 wickets against New Zealand in a series at home in 1998.
Mitchell Starc stands out
15.16 Starc's bowling average - the best by a fast bowler to take at least 20 wickets in a series in Asia since Waqar Younis took 27 wickets at 13.81 in a series against Zimbabwe in 1993-94. Overall, Starc's average is the eighth best for a fast bowler with 20 or more wickets in a series in Asia. The other pacers in this series took 13 wicket at an average of 38.61.
24 Wickets taken by Mitchell Starc in this series, 11 more than other pacers in the series combined. This is the highest ever lead by a fast bowler over others in terms of wickets in any Test series. The previous best was by Richard Hadlee. He took 33 wickets in the Trans-Tasman Trophy in Australia in 1985-86 while other pacers from either side together took six wickets fewer.
25.8 Starc's strike rate in this series - the best for any bowler to take at least 20 wickets in any series in Asia. Muttiah Muralitharan's strike rate of 26.0 in a series against Bangladesh at home in 2007 was the previous best. Including Muralitharan's figures, the next three instances in this list are by spinners. Waqar Younis' strike rate of 29.0 in a series against Zimbabwe in 1993-94 is the next best by a pacer.
Australia's batsmen found wanting
19.08 Average of Australia batsmen in the series - their lowest ever in any series involving two or more Tests in Asia. Their lowest before this had also come in Sri Lanka, in 1999, when their batsmen averaged 22.65 per dismissal.
1978-79 The last time Australia batsmen averaged lower in a series involving two more Tests - in the Ashes in Australia when they managed just 17.99 runs per dismissal. Their average of 19.08 is the third worst in any Test series involving at least two matches since 1950.
18 Single-digit scores by Australia's top-order (No. 1 to No.7) batsmen in the series - their most in a series since 1900 and their fourth highest in any series involving three or fewer Tests. Overall, only one visiting team had had more scores under ten runs from their top-order batsmen in a series in Sri Lanka. West Indies had 19 such scores in a three-Test series in 2001-02.
Sri Lanka's lower order fights, Australia's doesn't
885 Runs scored by Sri Lanka's batsmen at No. 6 or lower in the series - the second highest in a series against Australia in Asia and only two runs fewer than in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India in 2008-09. Sri Lanka's last six batsmen averaged 32.77 in the series and made two hundreds and two fifties.
13.16 Runs Australia's last six batsmen averaged per dismissal - their lowest in any series in Asia. Their batsmen managed to score only 395 runs from 36 innings and the only fifty came from Mitchell Marsh in the first innings of the third Test. Overall, there have been only five instances for Australia - the last of which was in the 1978-79 Ashes - when their last six batsmen have averaged lower after 30 or more innings in a series.
6 Number of top-order batsmen in this series from either side who got out to a bowler four or more times while averaging fewer than 20 runs against him. This equals the most such instances in a Test series since 2002. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis got out to Starc five times and Steven Smith also fell to Rangana Herath as many times. Starc's five dismissals of Karunaratne were spread over just 39 deliveries and the batsman managed to average just 3.80 runs per dismissal. The 2013 Ashes also saw six such batsmen-bowler combinations from five matches.
|Dimuth Karunaratne||Mitchell Starc||6||5||3.80||7.8|
|Kusal Mendis||Mitchell Starc||6||5||13.60||20.2|
|Steven Smith||Rangana Herath||6||5||15.80||37.8|
|Angelo Mathews||Nathan Lyon||5||4||12.25||18.3|
|Kusal Perera||Nathan Lyon||5||4||15.25||24.0|
|Adam Voges||Rangana Herath||6||4||4.75||25.3|
|Usman Khawaja||Dilruwan Perera||4||3||5.66||14.3|
|Mitchell Marsh||Rangana Herath||6||3||19.66||30.3|
|Mitchell Marsh||Lakshan Sandakan||5||3||10.33||21.3|
|Peter Nevill||Rangana Herath||6||3||9.33||31.3|
Openers struggle, again
16 Dismissals of openers for single-digits - including four ducks - in this series, which equalled the most in any series of three or fewer matches. There were 16 such instances in the series against India in Sri Lanka last year as well. Openers, of late, have been on shaky ground in Sri Lanka as illustrated in this piece by S Rajesh.
11.08 Average opening stand in this series - the third poorest in any series involving 12 or more opening partnerships. The lowest average opening stand in any such series came during India's tour of Sri Lanka last year, when teams averaged just 5.91 runs for their first wicket.
10 Number of successful reviews against umpires' decision in the series - equalled the second most in any Test series since 2010. Sri Lanka made six of these ten successful reviews. Angelo Mathews was more trigger-happy than Smith: Mathews made ten out of 14 reviews made by the fielding teams. Dilruwan Perera used the review three times while batting - the most by a batsman from either side - and was successful in overturning the umpire's decision once. Australia's home Test series against South Africa in 2012-13 had 11 successful reviews - the most in a series since 2010.
|Fielding team review - successful||4||3||1|
|Fielding team review - unsuccessful||10||7||3|
|Batsman review - unsuccesful||7||3||4|
|Batsman review - successful||6||3||3|
Shiva Jayaraman is a senior sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com. @shiva_cricinfo