Sri Lanka had a dismal Test series against India and will look to put behind the scars from it with the ODI leg of the tour kicking off on Sunday, the 20th of August in Dambulla.
We take a look back at a few memorable encounters played between the two cricket crazy nations dating back to the first ODI played between Sri Lanka and India in the year 1979 when Sri Lanka emerged victorious in Manchester during the Prudential World Cup.
* 5th Match (D/N), Commonwealth Bank Series at Adelaide, Feb 14 2012 – Match tied
Sri Lanka batted first at the Adelaide Oval in this tri-series game which also involved Australia and made a competitive 236 for nine, built around Dinesh Chandimal’s 81. India looked in control for most parts of their run chase with Gautam Gambhir hitting 91 and M.S. Dhoni anchoring the latter part of the run chase. Four run outs suddenly caused panic in the Indian camp and Lasith Malinga stepped up in the death overs for Sri Lanka to leave India 4 to get off the final ball with Dhoni on strike. Malinga managed to pull off a brilliant Yorker just outside off stump but Dhoni was equal to the task somehow scooping it towards the extra-cover boundary; Sachitra Senanayake managed to keep the ball in-play, parrying it to Nuwan Kulasekara, giving the Indians enough time to get back for three. The game ended in a dramatic tie.
* 4th Match (D/N), Asia Cup at Fatullah, Feb 28 2014 – SL won by 2 wickets
Sri Lanka won the toss in this crucial Asia Cup encounter and decided to send the Indians in, who in turn set up their innings beautifully, reaching 175/2 by the end of the 35th over. A score in excess of 300 was on the cards but Sachithra Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis bowled brilliantly to pull things back for Sri Lanka, sharing seven wickets between them. India lost 7/89 in the last 15 overs of their innings but still managed to put up a competitive 264/9 with Mohammed Shami striking a couple of sixes late in the innings, coming in at number 11.
The Sri Lankan top order came good in the run chase. Kusal Perera struck an entertaining half century while his opening partner Lahiru Thirimanne played the anchor role, chipping in with 38. Kumar Sangakkara looked in the form of his life, hitting 12 fours and a massive six. Sangakkara known for his more classical style of batting, was playing out of his skin before he was dismissed for 103 off just 84 balls with Sri Lanka still needing seven runs to win and just two wickets in hand. Thisara Perera looked very rusty making an unbeaten 11* off 18 balls, but when Ajantha Mendis struck a boundary off the last ball of the penultimate over, Sri Lanka were all but home with just one run to get off the last over. There were more nervy moment to come as Thisara Perera drove the first ball of the last over straight to Shikhar Dhawan, who spilled a chance, before Perera himself scampered a single off the next ball to take Sri Lanka home.
* Final, West Indies Tri-Nation Series at Port of Spain, Jul 11 2013- IND won by 1 wicket
The Indians surprisingly sent the Sri Lankans in after winning the toss on what many experts deemed as an abrasive surface but managed to restrict Sri Lanka to 201 all out. It was Kumar Sangakkara who stood up once again as he was the only man to make a half century for Sri Lanka. Ravindra Jadeja troubled the Sri Lankan batsmen with his fast tweakers, picking up four wickets but Sri Lanka had something to bowl at with the pitch taking plenty of spin.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka had only one spinner up their sleeve but that almost proved to be enough as Rangana Herath picked up 4/20 in his quota of ten overs to leave the Indians in dire straits at 182/9 in the 47th over. Sri Lanka knew the game was not sealed yet as one of the best finishers the ODI game has ever seen was still out there. M.S. Dhoni farmed the strike brilliantly to drag the game into the final over with India still needing 15 to win. Shaminda Eranga held his nerve starting off with a dot ball in the final over. No one in the ground would have thought the match would end in three deliveries from there on, but Dhoni showed why he is known as one of the best finishers when he hit Eranga for 6,4,6 to help India clinch the tri-series.
*1st ODI (D/N), India tour of Sri Lanka at Colombo, Aug 17 1997 – SL won by 2 runs
The Sri Lankan top order came good in the opening ODI of this tour of 97′ with Marvan Atapattu hitting a slow but steady century for Sri Lanka. Sanath Jayasuriya was at his usual best hitting an explosive 73 off 52 balls while Roshan Mahanama gave much needed impetus to the innings with an almost run a ball 53 to help Sri Lanka cross the 300-run barrier. (302/4).
The Indian run chase was in tatters at 64/4 with their top order back in the pavilion. Ajay Jadeja joined Mohammed Azharuddin and the duo got things back on track with a brilliant counter punch at the Sri Lankan bowlers. They put on 223 for the fifth wicket before Jadeja was dismissed for a career best 119 with India still needing 16 runs to win and Azharuddin unbeaten on a century at the other end. Chaminda Vaas, who picked up three wickets, held his nerve at the death along with Sanath Jayasuriya, who fired in some brilliant Yorkers, to deliver a two run win for Sri Lanka with Azharuddin remaining unbeaten on 111*.
* 1st ODI, Sri Lanka tour of India at Rajkot, Dec 15 2009 – India won by 3 runs
This encounter went down as one of the most memorable encounters between the two nations while it set plenty of new records at the time. One hundred and four boundaries were hit, 825 runs scored, and only three runs separated the two teams on the day in one of the greatest games in the history of ODI cricket. Virender Sehwag led the Indian batting effort with 146 off just 102 balls while Sachin Tendulkar and M.S. Dhoni made half centuries to lift India to a daunting 414/7 in their allotted 50 overs.
T.M. Dilshan came out all guns blazing as him along with Upul Tharanga managed 188 for the first wicket in just 24 overs before Tharanga was dismissed for 67. Dilshan looked to be the aggressor from the start but Kumar Sangakkara, who walked in at number three, had other ideas. Sangakkara hit 90 off just 43 balls in a partnership of 128 with Dilshan before he was dismissed with the score on 316/2 in the 37th over. Dilshan eventually departed for a well-made 160 but Angelo Mathews(38) and Thilina Kandamby(25) kept Sri Lanka in the game with useful contributions.
They managed to bring down the equation to 14 off 11 before a lazy effort from Kandamby gave India a sniff when he was run out at the bowler’s end. Another run out of Thilan Samaraweera off the last ball of the 49th over meant Sri Lanka needed 11 off the final over with Mathews still out there. Ashish Nehra held his nerve for India, dismissing Mathews off the fourth ball as Sri Lanka were restricted to 411/8, falling agonizingly close to the target.