The Sri Lankan team will travel to UAE to face Pakistan in a tour which will feature two games in the longest format. Sri Lanka will also be playing their first ever day-night Test match during this series. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers between the two sides.

Looking back at the past decade, the rivalry between the two teams has gained some extra zest. The relationship both on and off the field has flourished and in fact in the past ten years, Sri Lanka has been Pakistan’s most regular opponent in both Tests and ODIs. The fixture has been an annual event in the calendar since 2011 except for in 2016.

Since 1982
Wettimuny, first Test centurion for Sri Lanka (Image courtesy – Getty Images)
Wettimuny, first Test centurion for Sri Lanka (Image courtesy – Getty Images)

Two weeks after Sri Lanka played their first ever Test against England, the minnows were hosted in a 3-match Test series in Pakistan as they became the second ever opponent Sri Lanka has played.  The series became an indication of Pakistan’s superiority and Sri Lanka’s inexperience as the hosts won 2-0. The first Test at Karachi was won by Pakistan with a massive margin of 204 runs.

However, the visitors managed to salvage a draw during the second Test at Faisalabad, falling agonizingly short of an inaugural Test win. The game was also best remembered for opener Sidath Wettimuny becoming the first ever Sri Lankan to score a Test century.

Sri Lanka’s first success came in 1986 at CCC when Duleep Mendis’ team defeated a strong Pakistani side led by Imran Khan by 8 wickets. Debutant Kosala Kuruppuarachchi’s fiery spell subdued the visitors for 132 in the first essay. Left arm medium pace bowler claimed 5 for 44 and 2 for 41 to seal Sri Lanka’s first ever win against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Head to Head Test Record –

  • Played – 51
  • Pakistan – 19
  • Sri Lanka – 14
  • Drawn – 18
Recap of the last few years

In 2011 Pakistan hosted the Lions in UAE as the 3-Test series ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts. In the following year, Sri Lanka avenged their defeat with a 1-0 series win as they wrapped up a 209-run win at Galle in the opening game. The 2013 series saw a deadlock as the two evenly poised teams ended it with a win each at UAE.

Sanga’s double ton at Galle, 2014 (Image courtesy – AFP)
Sanga’s double ton at Galle, 2014 (Image courtesy – AFP)

The 2014 series perhaps was best remembered for Mahela Jayawardene’s swan song as the teams met again, 7 months after their stalemate. The legend’s final stanza was proven a sweet memory for the fans. The first Test in Galle saw Sri Lanka’s stylish reply to Pakistan’s 451 which was spearheaded by Kumar Sangakkara’s majestic double ton as the hosts piled up 533/9. Pakistan’s second innings was hampered by Rangana Herath’s crafty spin as they crumbled for a mere 180. Herath took 6 scalps. However the game wasn’t over as the Lions had to battle both rain and the fading light chasing down 99. Skipper Angelo Mathews applied the finishing touches, sealing a 1-0 lead for the hosts.

Pakistanis sharing a light moment with Mahela when he came out bat for the last time in Tests (Image courtesy – AFP)
Pakistanis sharing a light moment with Mahela when he came out bat for the last time in Tests (Image courtesy – AFP)

The second and final Test was played at SSC, the home ground of the retiring luminary MJ. Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 320 while Pakistan took a marginal lead with 332 which was made possible by Sarfraz Ahmed’s 103 after they were reeling on 140/5 at one point. Rangana Herath did his magic again, capturing 9 wickets. Sri Lanka’s second innings witnessed the time-tested Sanga-Mahela combination recording yet another century partnership before Mahela was caught by Ahmed Shehzad off Saeed Ajmal’s bowling for 54 shortly after the departure of his partner Sangakkara for 59. The hosts were bowled out for 282 as the target stood at 271 for Pakistan. Once again, the bowlers gave the Pakistani batsmen a hard time and despite Sarfraz Ahmed’s grappling 55, they were bowled out for 165 with Herath taking 5 wickets. The 105-run win and a 2-0 series whitewash was a fitting finale for the legendary cricketer who graced the field for one last time in whites.

The Test series hosted by Sri Lanka in 2015 was won 2-1 by Pakistan.

United Arab Emirates

Pakistan has hosted Sri Lanka in UAE for 6 Tests so far.

  • Played – 6
  • Pakistan – 2
  • Sri Lanka – 1
  • Drawn – 3

Pakistan’s Test record in UAE –

  • Played – 28
  • Won – 15
  • Lost – 6
  • Drawn – 7
Abu Dhabi
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2013 at Abu Dhabi (Image courtesy – AFP)
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2013 at Abu Dhabi (Image courtesy – AFP)

The Sheikh Zayed Stadium has hosted 9 games for Pakistan. They are yet to be beaten at the venue, winning 5 and the rest ending in a draw.

Dubai International Stadium
(Image courtesy – AFP)
(Image courtesy – AFP)

Pakistan has played 10 games at the venue, winning 6 and losing 2. Two more have been stalemates. Sri Lanka will be the 7th country to play a day-night Test match.

Sri Lanka’s only win against Pakistan in UAE came in Dubai in early 2014.

Team Records 
  • Highest team total – 765/6 dec (Pakistan at Karachi, 2009)
  • Highest team total for Sri Lanka – 644/7 dec (Karachi, 2009)
  • Lowest team total – 71 all out (Sri Lanka at Kandy, 1994)
  • Lowest team total for Pakistan – 90 all out (P. Sara, 2009)
Batting Records
  • Most runs – Kumar Sangakkara (2911 runs in 45 innings) (Avg. 74.64)
  • Most runs for Pakistan – Younis Khan (2286 runs in 48 innings) (Avg. 51.95)
  • Most runs in UAE – Kumar Sangakkara (682 runs in 12 innings) (Avg. 62.00)
  • Most runs in UAE for Pakistan – Misbah-ul-Haq (549 runs in 9 innings) (Avg. 78.42)
  • Highest individual score – Younis Khan (313 at Karachi, 2009)
  • Highest individual score for Sri Lanka – Sanath Jayasuriya (253 at Faisalabad, 2004)
Bowling Records
  • Most wickets – Rangana Herath (90 wickets in 36 innings) (Avg. 29.98)
  • Most wickets for Pakistan – Saeed Ajmal (66 wickets in 28 innings) (Avg. 32.87)
  • Most wickets in UAE – Saeed Ajmal (28 wickets in 12 innings) (Avg. 33.53)
  • Most wickets for Sri Lanka in UAE (24 wickets in 12 innings) (Avg. 36.20)
  • Best bowling – Rangana Herath (9 for 127 at SSC, 2014)
  • Best bowling for Pakistan – Imran Khan (8 for 58 at Lahore, 1982)