New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Test Series 2018 – Let’s talk Numbers

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After three years, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will be facing each other in a bilateral Test series, which will commence on 15th December 2018 at Basin Reserve, Wellington. New Zealand has not been the best hunting ground for the Lions and it will be a crucial essay for the young side with a perfect opportunity to prove themselves in unfamiliar conditions. With a tough tour for the Lions around the corner, let’s take a closer look at the numbers between the 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 newly 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.  

Reminiscing Sri Lanka’s first overseas win in New Zealand

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

  • Played – 32
  • Sri Lanka – 8
  • New Zealand – 14
  • Drawn – 10

Recap of the past decade

In 2005, the Sri Lankans travelled to New Zealand and the 2 match series was won by the Kiwis 1-0. During the following year’s visit to New Zealand, Sri Lanka managed to win the Wellington Test which is also their last win in New Zealand. The series ended 1-1.

The Lions welcomed the visitors 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.

To review or not to review; Sri Lanka’s dilemma

Sri Lankan tales in New Zealand

Since their inaugural Test in 1983, Sri Lanka has played the Black Caps 15 times in New Zealand.

Sri Lanka overall Test record in New Zealand –

  • Played – 17
  • Sri Lanka – 2
  • New Zealand – 10
  • Drawn – 5

Sri Lanka’s 2 wins include the 2006 Wellington Test and the historic Napier Test in 1995. The only time Sri Lanka won a series in New Zealand was in 1994/95.

Basin Reserve, Wellington

The oldest Test venue in New Zealand, the picturesque Basin Reserve has been hosting Tests since 1930. The venue was well remembered for Martin Crowe (299) and Andrew Jones’ (186) 467-run stand that shattered the Test record books for the highest partnership in 1991.

New Zealand’s overall Test Record at Basin Reserve –

  • Played – 61
  • Won – 18
  • Lost – 20
  • Drawn – 23

Sri Lanka have faced New Zealand in 5 Tests at the venue, winning once and losing in three Tests.

Hagley Oval, Christchurch

The Hagley Oval hosted its debut Test in 2014 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in a match New Zealand won by 8 wickets. It is the only Test Sri Lanka have played at the venue.

New Zealand’s overall Test record at Hagley Oval –

  • Played – 5
  • Won – 3
  • Lost – 1
  • Drawn – 1

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 New Zealand – Kane Williamson (664 runs in 8 innings) (Avg. 132.80)
  • Most runs in New Zealand (for SL) – Aravinda de Silva (595 runs in 13 innings) (Avg. 45.76)
  • 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 New Zealand – Chaminda Vaas (36 wickets in 14 innings) (Avg. 22.55)
  • Most wickets in New Zealand (for NZ) – Daniel Vettori (21 wickets in 7 innings) (Avg. 19.71), Tim Southee (21 wickets in 8 innings) (Avg. 21.33)
  • Best bowling – Daniel Vettori (7 for 130 at Wellington, 2006)
  • Best bowling (for SL) – Rangana Herath (6 for 43 at Galle, 2012)