India vs Sri Lanka: 5 memorable Tests

India and Sri Lanka have given their fans several exciting contests in the past.

India vs Sri Lanka: 5 memorable Tests
Updated: August 5, 2015 5:38 PM IST | Edited By: Amit Banerjee

India-vs-Sri-Lanka 5 memorable Tests

India and Sri Lanka have given their fans several exciting contests in the past, with ICC World Cup 2011 and ICC World T20 2014 final being a couple of such examples. The excitement spills over to the Test arena as well, where Sri Lanka have showed consistency following their triumph in World Cup 1996. Amit Banerjee compiles five of the most memorable Tests played between India and Sri Lanka. Virat Kohli will lead the Indian side in his first ever Test against Sri Lanka. This will be the first full-fledged Test series post the India tour of Australia 2014-15, which witness MS Dhoni retiring from the longest format of the game.

1. P Sara Oval, September 6-11, 1985: Sri Lanka had gained Test status barely three years ago, and were up against India, world champions back then (albeit in the shorter format) and winner of the World Championship of Cricket in Australia barely six months ago. That however, did not scare the Lankans into retreat as they piled up 385 in the first innings, thanks to contributions from Amal Silva (111) and Roy Dias (95). The latter would shine again in the second innings with 60 not out along with a young Aravinda de Silva’s 75. Rumesh Ratnayake was the star with the ball, taking nine wickets in the Test to dismiss India for 244 and 198 respectively as the Lankans registered their first Test victory in only their 14th match. To be fair to India, the Test was marred by dubious umpiring. READ: Virat Kohli to make debut against Sri Lanka in Tests

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 385 (Amal Silva 111, Roy Dias 95; Chetan Sharma 5 for 118) and 206 for 3 decl. (Aravinda de Silva 75, Roy Dias 60) beat India 244 (Krishmanachari Srikkanth 64, Mohinder Amarnath 60; Rumesh Ratnayake 4 for 76) and 198 (Kapil Dev 78; Rumesh Ratnayake 5 for 49) by 149 runs.

2. R Premadasa Stadium, August 2-6, 1997: One of the craziest Tests of all time, with absolutely no sense of purpose whatsoever in the Sri Lankan batsmen whatsoever, and one that would go on to make special room for itself in the record books. While India declared on 537 in the first innings thanks to contributions from Navjot Sidhu (111), Sachin Tendulkar (143) and Mohammad Azharuddin (126), it was Sri Lanka’s innings that will forever be remembered. After losing Marvan Atapattu with 39 runs on board (Nilesh Kulkarni became the first Indian to take a wicket with his first ball in Tests), Sanath Jayasuriya (340) and Roshan Mahanama (225) added 576 for the second wicket — a record that would stay for the next nine years. Knocks from Aravinda de Silva (126), Arjuna Ranatunga (86) and Mahela Jayawardene (66) ultimately propelled them to the highest Test total of 952 for 6, one which has not been breached till date. Some Indian bowlers would enter the record books for the wrong reasons, with Rajesh Chauhan’s figures of 78-8-276-1 being the second-most expensive figures in Test history. READ: Who will finally shine in MS Dhoni's spot?

Brief scores: India 537 for 8 decl. (Navjot Sidhu 111, Sachin Tendulkar 143, Mohammad Azharuddin 126; Sanath Jayasuriya 3 for 45) drew with Sri Lanka 952 for 6 decl. (Sanath Jayasuriya 340, Roshan Mahanama 225, Aravinda de Silva 126).

3. Mumbai, December 2-6, 2009: One name appears in mind when one thinks of this Test — Virender Sehwag. The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ whirlwind knock of 293 off just 254 balls at a strike rate of 115.4, guided India to their highest-ever total of 726 for 9. He took only 168 deliveries to reach his double-hundred, which was short of Nathan Astle’s record for the fastest double-ton by 15 balls. Sehwag’s memorable knock was testament to his aggressive approach regardless of the format. Sri Lanka lost the match by an innings and 24 runs despite scoring 300-plus in both innings. READ: India’s tour game an early indicator of things to come

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 393 (Tillakaratne Dilshan 109, Angelo Mathews 99; Harbhajan Singh 4 for 112) and 309 (Kumar Sangakkara 137; Zaheer Khan 5 for 72) lost to India 726 for 9 (Virender Sehwag 293, MS Dhoni 100) by an innings and 24 runs.

4. Galle, July 18-22, 2010: It was Muttiah Muralitharan’s farewell Test, and the hosts had to give him a proper send-off. They eventually managed to do it in style, and Murali would be the defining player from the match. After declaring on 520, Sri Lanka went on to bowl India out for 276, with Murali taking 5 for 63, to force them to follow on. While India put up a much better performance in the second innings, it was Murali’s dismissal of Pragyan Ojha that would go down as one of the most memorable moments in Test cricket. The ‘smiling assassin’ sent a tossed-up delivery outside off, that led Ojha edged to the slips for Mahela took the catch safely to his left. The world had just witnessed a bowler breaking the 800-barrier for the first time in its history! Sri Lanka’s 10-wicket win was only the cherry on top of the cake. READ: Kumar Sangakkara versus India

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 520 for 8 decl. (Tharanga Paranavitana 111, Kumar Sangakkara 103) and 96 for 0 (Tillakaratne Dilshan 68 not out) beat India 276 (Virender Sehwag 109; Muttiah Muralitharan 5 for 63) and 338 (Sachin Tendulkar 84, VVS Laxman 69; Lasith Malinga 5 for 50, Muttiah Muralitharan 3 for 128) by 10 wickets.

5. Colombo, August 3-7, 2010: Same series, different result. After losing to the hosts in the first Test, followed by a run-fest of a draw in the second, India needed a win if they were to level the series and end their tour of Sri Lanka on a positive note. Sri Lanka amassed 425 in the first innings, mainly due to Thilan Samaraweera’s 137, but some resilient batting by Sehwag (109) among others saw the Indians secure an 11-run lead. The Lankans then set 257, a target that did not look difficult given the depth in the Indian batting. India, however, were down and out in the early part of their chase, struggling at 62 for 4 with Suraj Randiv on fire. Eventually Tendulkar (54) and VVS Laxman (103) came to the rescue for the visitors, adding a life-saving 109-run stand for the fifth-wicket. Laxman played one of the most special knocks as he stuck to the crease to ensure India emerged victorious from the battle. READ: Rangana Herath must bounce back against India for Sri Lanka’s benefit

Brief scoresSri Lanka 425 (Thilan Samaraweera 137; Pragyan Ojha 4 for 115) and 267 (Thilan Samaraweera 83, Ajantha Mendis 78) lost to India 436 (Virender Sehwag 109; Suraj Randiv 4 for 80) and 258 for 5 (Sachin Tendulkar 54, VVS Laxman 103; Suraj Randiv 5 for 82) by 5 wickets.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)