Sri Lanka vs New Zealand: Test Series – Let’s Talk Numbers


Following a victorious ODI series against Bangladesh, a revived Sri Lankan team will face the World Cup finalists New Zealand in a 2-match Test series and 3 T20 internationals. Let’s take a closer look at the Test numbers between these two sides. 

Since 1983

The first ever Test match between the two teams was played in 1983 at Christchurch. The home team was led by Geoff Howarth, while the new born Test nation was captained by D.S De Silva. For only the third time in Test history (after WG & EM Grace, Hanif & Sadiq Mohammad), a pair of brothers opened the batting in a match. This rare distinction was savoured by Sidath and Mithra Wettimuny. Besides that, a staggering 7 debutants were fielded by Sri Lanka, namely, Guy de Alwis, Susil Fernando, Yohan Goonasekera, Sridharan Jeganathan, Vinothen John, Rumesh Ratnayake and Mithra Wettimuny. For New Zealand, Jeff Crowe made his debut. New Zealand comfortably won the inaugural match by an innings and 25 runs.

Sri Lanka’s first win against New Zealand came in 1992 at the SSC, where the Lions won by 9 wickets. Arjuna Ranatunga led the home team while Martin Crowe led the Kiwis. Three years later, a memorable moment was relished by the Lions as their first ever Test victory away from home was registered against New Zealand at Napier in 1995. Sri Lanka won by 241 runs, where Chaminda Vaas was named Man of the Match for his 10 scalps. Wicketkeeper and debutant, Chamara Dunusinghe made 91 in the second essay and took 7 dismissals during the Test.  

Sri Lanka vs New Zealand overall Test record head to head –

  • Played – 34
  • Sri Lanka – 8
  • New Zealand – 15
  • Drawn – 11

Recap of the last decade 

Image courtesy – Associated Press

The Lions welcomed the Kiwis in 2009, where the hosts dominated the Test series by whitewashing New Zealand 2-0. In 2012, the Black Caps toured Sri Lanka again and this time the series resulted in a 1-1 stalemate following New Zealand’s victory at P. Sara Oval in the second Test.

The two sides met in 2014 in a series where New Zealand’s supremacy reigned on home soil. The Kiwis defeated Sri Lanka in both Tests at Christchurch and Wellington by 8 wickets and 193 runs respectively. In 2015 too, the Sri Lankans were whitewashed 2-0 by the hosts at Dunedin and Hamilton. Last year December, the 2 match series in New Zealand was won by the hosts 1-0. 

2009Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 2-0
2012Sri Lanka drawn1-1
2014/2015New ZealandNew Zealand2-0 (whitewash)
2015New ZealandNew Zealand2-0 (whitewash)
2018New ZealandNew Zealand1-0

In the Lion’s Den

Sri Lanka first hosted New Zealand in a Test in 1984. At Asgiriya, New Zealand won their inaugural Test on Sri Lankan soil by 165 runs. The winning team was led by Geoff Howarth, while Duleep Mendis captained the hosts. Sri Lanka first beat New Zealand in 1992 at SSC. 

Sri Lanka vs New Zealand head to head Test record in Sri Lanka – 

  • Played – 15
  • Sri Lanka – 6
  • New Zealand – 4
  • Draw – 5  

Sri Lanka haven’t hosted New Zealand in a Test since 2012. 

Galle International Stadium 

The two sides played at Galle in 2012 during New Zealand’s last tour to Sri Lanka (Image courtesy – Associated Press)

With the lovely Indian Ocean on two sides, bordering the famous Dutch Fort and town, Galle is one of the most picturesque venues in international cricket. But hidden behind the panoramic views, Galle has been a fortress for the Lions ever since it hosted its first Test in 1998. 

Sri Lanka’s overall Test record at Galle – 

  • Played – 32
  • Won – 18
  • Lost – 8
  • Drawn – 6

New Zealand featured in the first ever Test match hosted in Galle in 1998, where Sri Lanka won by innings and 16 runs. So far the two teams have played 3 Tests at Galle and Sri Lanka have emerged winners in all three games (1998, 2009, 2012). 

Sara Oval, Colombo 

New Zealand won the last time these two sides met at Sri Lanka (Image courtesy – Associated Press)

Sri Lanka’s first Test venue, the home side have played 20 Tests at the venue.

Sri Lanka’s overall Test record at the P. Sara Oval – 

  • Played – 20
  • Won – 9
  • Lost – 7
  • Drawn – 4

New Zealand have played two Tests at the venue, winning one (2012) while the other has been a draw (2003). Sri Lanka are yet to defeat New Zealand in a Test at P. Sara Oval. 

Team Records

  • Highest team total – 671/4 (New Zealand at Wellington, 1991)
  • Highest team total (for SL) – 498 (at Napier, 2005)
  • Lowest team total – 93 all out (Sri Lanka at Wellington, 1983)
  • Lowest team total (for NZ) – 102 all out (at SSC, 1992)

Batting Records

  • Most runs – Stephen Fleming (1166 runs in 23 innings) (Avg. 58.30)
  • Most runs (for SL) – Mahela Jayawardene (1028 runs in 22 innings) (Avg. 48.95)
  • Most runs in Sri Lanka – Mahela Jayawardene (834 runs in 15 innings) (Avg. 59.57)
  • Most runs for New Zealand (in SL) – Stephen Fleming (733 runs in 10 innings) (Avg. 104.71)
  • Highest individual score – Martin Crowe (299 at Wellington, 1991)
  • Highest individual score (for SL) – Aravinda de Silva (267 at Wellington, 1991)

Bowling Records

  • Most wickets – Muttiah Muralitharan (82 wickets in 25 innings) (Avg. 21.53)
  • Most wickets (for NZ) – Daniel Vettori (51 wickets in 18 innings) (Avg. 23.62)
  • Most wickets in Sri Lanka – Muttiah Muralitharan (52 wickets in 16 innings) (Avg. 22.44)
  • Most wickets for New Zealand (in SL) – Daniel Vettori (30 wickets in 11 innings) (Avg. 26.36)
  • Best bowling – Daniel Vettori (7 for 130 at Wellington, 2006)
  • Best bowling (for SL) – Rangana Herath (6 for 43 at Galle, 2012)