The three-match Test series between India and Sri Lanka starts next week in Galle. We went down memory lane to look at the most stunning bowling efforts by Sri Lankans against their rivals, India in Test cricket.
Muttiah Muralitharan 8/87 (SSC, 2001)
The champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has taken 105 wickets against India in 22 matches, by far Sri Lanka’s leading wicket taker against their neighbours. Skipper Sanath Jayasuriya won the toss in this game back in 2001 and invited the visitors to bat first as they were folded for a below-par 234 in the 82nd over. Jayasuriya introduced Murali to the attack in the 14th over of the innings, he took the 1st wicket of left-hander Sandagoppan Ramesh and never looked back as he dismantled the Indian batting line-up cheaply. He was outstanding with the ball as he registered the best ever figures for a Sri Lankan against India in Tests 8/87 in 34.1 overs. The islanders managed to win the decisive game by an innings and 77 runs after centuries from Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Hashan Tillakaratne and debutant Tilan Samaraweera and clinch the 3-match series 2-1.
Rangana Herath 7/48 (Galle, 2015)
The most recent Test series between the two countries was played in 2015 in Sri Lanka. Skipper Angelo Mathews won the toss and opted to bat first on a spin friendly surface in Galle, but the decision backfired as the hosts were knocked out for 183 runs in the 50th over. However batting heroics from Dinesh Chandimal in the 2nd innings gave the visitors a modest target of 176. Then came the champion left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to destroy the strong Indian batting line-up for a shocking 112 all out in the 50th over to give the home team a remarkable 63 run win. The Left-arm spinner completed a match winning 7/48 in 21 overs in a memorable victory.
Muttiah Muralitharan 7/100 (Delhi, 2005)
Visiting Sri Lanka met India on 10th December 2005 at the Feroz Shah Kotla grounds in Delhi. Indian Skipper Rahul Dravid choose bat on a dry looking pitch in Delhi. Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar scored a classy hundred as India made 290 in 96.4 overs. The visitors lost the game by 188 runs but the impact of Muralitharan was amazing once again. He took 6 top-order wickets and removed Harbhajan Singh for his 7th scalp to dismiss the solid Indian batting line-up for below-par total. He completed excellent figures of 7/100 in 38.4 overs with an economy rate of 2.58.
Muttiah Muralitharan 6/26 (SSC, 2008)
Skipper Mahela Jayawardane won the toss and opted to bat first in batting friendly conditions at the SSC grounds in July 2008. The hosts were unstoppable with the willow in hand as they smashed the Indian bowling attack to all parts of the ground. The Lankan Lions declared their innings on 600/6 with four top order batters getting centuries. The visitors were bundled out for 223 in the 1st innings and had to follow on in the 2nd innings. They struggled once again against Muttiah Muralitharan as he finished a terrific bowling spell of 6/26 in 13 overs as were Indians knocked over for 138 in 45 overs. The Islanders went on to beat India by an innings and 239 runs in the first game in the 3-match series. Murali was adjudged the man of match for his match-bag of 11 for 110.
Sri Lanka and India played a 3-match series back in 1985. The 1st game got underway at the SSC grounds on a belter of a pitch. The visiting Indian team was captained by Kapil Dev and hosts by Duleep Mendis. The visitors batted 1st but they managed only 218, while the home team took the upper-hand making 347 in the 1st innings. Sri Lanka having the advantage of a 129 run first innings lead, needed quick wickets in the 2nd essay to force a result. Right-arm seamer Rumesh Ratnayake bowled a marathon spell of 41 overs including 10 maidens to complete a hard-earned 6/85 to restrict the neighbors to 251 in 119.3 overs. However, the match ended in a draw with the Lankans taking major honours.
Indian skipper Anil Kumble won the toss and decided to bat first in the 2nd Test played at Galle international stadium in July 2008. The openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir put up a superb 167 stand for the 1st wicket, Sehwag went on to score an unbeaten double century to steady the ship for the visitors. The mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis broke the opening stand getting Gambhir’s wicket for 56. Skipper Mahela Jayawardane kept faith in the youngster and gave him along spell of 28 overs as Mendis ended up getting a 6-wicket haul for 117 runs and he followed it up with a 4-for in the second innings. Unfortunately, the efforts of Mendis went in vain as India won the game by 170 runs.
Dilhara Fernando 5/42 (Galle, 2001)
Sri Lanka hosted India in a 3-match Test series in 2001 which started with the game at the Galle International stadium. After winning the toss skipper Sanath Jayasuriya invited the Indians to take the first lease of the Galle surface. The visitors were controlling things at 109/2, until right-arm seamer Dilhara Fernando came in to the attack and produced a match winning spell of pace bowling that demolished the strong Indian batting line-up led by Sourav Ganguly for a hapless 187 in 95.3 overs. Fernando completed an outstanding spell of 5/42 in 25 overs at an economy rate of 1.68. The hosts comfortably thrashed the Indians by 10 wickets to take the lead in the series 1-0.