Rangana Herath came to the fray, and spun the Indian batsmen in a web © AFP
Rangana Herath (left) came to the fray, and spun the Indian batsmen in a web © AFP

India lost the first Test Galle to Sri Lanka after lead of 192 at the end of first innings. This is the first such defeat for India after acquiring a lead of over 100 runs. Bharath Seervi lists teams that lost Tests after having huge leads.

India led by 192 in the first innings. Sri Lanka’s score reads 5 for 2 at the end of Day Two and 5 for 3 after the first ball of Day Three. Sri Lanka were soon 95 for 5. India were eyeing an innings victory. But nothing of the order transpired for the rest of the Test. India did not even come close. Instead, the team in such a situation actually went on to lose the Test by 63 runs in the second session of Day Four.

Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews got off to good starts from 5 for 3 but fell to the Indian spinners before getting fifties. Dinesh Chandimal stood firm at one end and scored at almost a run a ball. He got the second fifty of the match in just 48 balls. Lahiru Thirimanne and Jehan Mubarak got forties, but failed to make it big. But Chandimal, the wicket-keeper, went on to get his fourth Test hundred. Sri Lanka was all out for 367, leading by 175 runs; Chandimal remained not out on 162 off 169 balls. Milestones and records to aim for Kumar Sangakkara in his last series before retirement

A target of 176 was not that big. There was also no hurry with over two days left. But Rangana Herath came to the fray, and spun the Indian batsmen in a web. Wickets fell regularly, and the target suddenly started looking humongous. The highest partnership for India in the fourth innings was a mere 21, that too for the ninth wicket, between Ajinkya Rahane and Amit Mishra. All wickets went to spinners — seven to Herath and three to Tharindu Kaushal. India lost the Test on her Independence Day.

India lost the test after having a lead of 192 at the end of the first innings. Not often have teams lost Tests after acquiring leads of this magnitude. In fact, India have never lost a Test after a lead this big. Their previous highest lead which resulted in loss for them was of 80 — against Australia at Adelaide Oval in 1991-92; set to chase 372, they lost by 38 runs. Analysis of England’s 100 Test wins by an innings

The table below lists the highest leads which resulted in wins for Indian team in tests.

Highest first innings leads in a lost test for India (Lead of 50 or more)

Lead Bat 1st or 2nd Against Target Losing margin Venue Date
192 Second Sri Lanka 175 63 runs Galle 12-Aug-15
80 Second Australia 372 38 runs Adelaide Oval 25-Jan-92
69 Second Australia 333 122 runs SCG 02-Jan-08
67 Second England 478 319 runs Trent Bridge 29-Jul-11
65 Second Australia 333 139 runs Madras 02-Oct-64
59 Second Zimbabwe 235 61 runs Harare 07-Oct-98

–          All instances came when India batted second in the Test, and were chasing in the first innings.

–          The biggest lead gained by India in a defeat batting first was of 49 runs against South Africa (India 225, South Africa 176) at Wankhede in 1999-00 by four wickets. Ashes 2015, 4th Test at Trent Bridge: Statistical report

–          The 1964-65 Test at Corporation stadium, Madras against Australia in the above table is the only instance of such a loss for India in India.

Highest first innings lead to lose a test match (Lead of 175 or more)

Lead Losing team Batting 1st or 2nd Winning team Target Margin Venue Date
291 Sri Lanka Second Australia 164 16 runs SSC 17-Aug-92
274 Australia First India 384 171 runs Eden Gardens 11-Mar-01
261 Australia First England 177 10 runs SCG 14-Dec-1894
236 South Africa First Australia 336 5 wickets Kingsmead 20-Jan-50
227 Australia First England 130 18 runs Headingley 16-Jul-81
206 Pakistan Second Australia 176 36 runs SCG 03-Jan-10
192 India Second Sri Lanka 175 63 runs Galle 12-Aug-15
188 Australia First South Africa 236 8 wickets Newlands 09-Nov-11
182 Australia Second India 143 59 runs MCG 07-Feb-81
179 New Zealand First England 294 6 wickets Old Trafford 23-May-08
177 England Second Australia 256 54 runs Old Trafford 27-Jul-61

–          Two test matches are excluded from the above list:

1) England vs South Africa at Centurion in 2000: South Africa scored 248. On mutual agreement, England declared their without playing a ball, giving South Africa a 248-run lead. South Africa forfeited their second innings. England chased down 249 losing eight wickets. Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince’s record First-Class partnership and other statistics

2) England vs Pakistan at The Oval in 2006: England scored 173 in the first innings and Pakistan took a lead of 331. England were 298 for 4 in their second innings after which the match didn’t continue, for Pakistan led by Inzamam-ul-Haq, refused to take field after the Tea on Day Four owing to the allegations of ball tampering by umpire Darrel Hair. England was awarded the Test.

–          The three Tests won by sides following-on are all on the list: England vs Australia at SCG, 1894-95; England vs Australia at Headingley, 1981; and India vs Australia at Eden Gardens, 2000-01. Australia were on the losing side on all occasions.

For Sri Lanka, it was the highest deficit following which they went to win a Test. There are only two other instances where Sri Lanka won a Test after trailing by 100 or more runs in the first innings — against Pakistan (lead of 110) at Faisalabad in 1995-96, and against England (lead of 108) at Headingley in 2014. Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince’s record First-Class partnership and other statistics

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @SeerviBharath and on Facebook here)