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Dambulla delight for Murali

What the numbers tell about Dambulla, and about the key performers there

Cricinfo staff

Muttiah Muralitharan: 24 wickets at 12.83 at Dambulla © AFP
  • India will face an uphill task in trying to defeat Sri Lanka in the first match of the IndianOil Cup on Saturday. Sri Lanka have a formidable record at Dambulla, winning nine out of 12 games. The only time they played India at this venue was in the Asia Cup last year, when they sneaked home by 12 runs in a day-night game. The only other game that India played here was against UAE, when they romped home by 116 runs. In day-night games, Sri Lanka have won four out of five - the only time they missed out was against Australia in 2003-04. West Indies, the other team in the competition, haven't played at this venue yet. (Click here for the results of all ODIs at Dambulla.)
  • The team batting first has won four out of six day-night matches, three of them by a margin of more than 80 runs. The team batting first scores at an average of 4.47 runs per over in day-night games here, while for teams batting second that figure drops to 4.05. That should tempt the captain winning the toss to bat first, even though the dew might be a hindrance to the team fielding in the evening.
  • West Indies' young side struggled in the Tests, and it's unlikely they'll be able to shrug off their awful one-day record either - since winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004, they have to their credit a solitary win in their last 13 completed matches. They have lost nine matches in a row, and with a batting line-up so inexperienced, that losing streak could well stretch to 13 by the time this tournament is done.
  • On an average, India score 76 in their first 15 overs (since the 2003 World Cup), while Sri Lanka, despite Sanath Jayasuriya's presence at the top of the order, only manage 66, three more than West Indies. Sachin Tendulkar's absence might hit India hard at the start of the innings, but if MS Dhoni hits his straps - and if he is given an opportunity at the top of the order - there could well be plenty to cheer for Indian fans.
  • What might not please Indians quite so much is Muttiah Muralitharan's record in one-day internationals in Dambulla - 24 wickets in 10 games at 12.83. Sanath Jayasuriya, another player who, like Murali, relishes playing against India, has struggled at this ground, scoring only one half-century in 11 innings.