India vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test, 1997: 17 years back when Sri Lanka scored 952!

A series of records were scripted on this day, that year!

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India will play against Sri Lanka in the three-Test series, starting on August 12, with the first match at Galle. The last time India toured Sri Lanka was in 2010. The series ended in a draw. However, the 1997 tour was a special one, especially for the hosts but was agony for India. On August 6, 1997, Sri Lanka went on to register the highest team total in an innings. It is almost 17 years since that very day. On the other hand, India take on Sri Lanka President’s XI on Thursday at the same venue ahead of the Test series which kicks off at Galle.

India toured Sri Lanka to play Asia Cup 2010 which was followed by two Tests against the hosts and three One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Sri Lanka and India played the Asia Cup final, which the hosts won by 8 wickets. A week later, the Test series kicked off with the first Test being played at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. India won the toss and elected to bat first. Nayan Mongia and Navjot Sing Sidhu opened the innings for India. Mongia was dismissed by Ravindra Pushpakumara as he managed to score only 7. Then came Rahul Dravid, the ‘Wall’ of Indian cricket, and along with Sidhu, the duo put on 147 runs for the second wicket. Sidhu was dismissed for 111, and Sachin Tendulkar was the next batsman in. Dravid also fell after scoring 69. Tendulkar went on to score 143. Mohammad Azharuddin scored 126. India declared after scoring 537.

Next came the Sri Lankan batsmen. Interestingly, Mahela Jayawardene made his Test debut along with India’s Nilesh Kulkarni. Marvan Atapattu was dismissed as Kulkarni took the wicket off his very first ball in Test cricket, making it the 12th occasion in history. However, India never predicted what was coming next. Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama put up 576 runs for the second wicket.

When Atapattu was dismissed the Sri Lankan score read 39 for 1. When Mahanama was dismissed by Anil Kumble, the scorecard read 615 for 2. Jayasuriya and Mahanama fell in quick succession. Mahanama scored 225 and Jayasuriya scored 340. But, that was not all. Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga decided to take the match to another level. They put on 175 runs for the 4th wicket. Ranatunga was run out by Ajay Jadeja.

Nothing detered the debutant Jayawardene though, he went on to become one of Sri Lanka’s batting great,. Jayawardene scored 66. Aravindra was dismissed later for 126 runs. The scoreboard read 952 for 6 at the end of the first Test. A series of records were scripted. Jayasuriya was named the Player of the Match. The second Test however ended in Sri Lanka winning the match and the series.

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