The first Test at Galle was a stroll in the park for India. It was the first time they defeated Sri Lanka in the first Test of a series in Sri Lanka. The Lions will be boosted by the return of their regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal who was out of the first Test due to pneumonia. People do expect returns when they invest but it did not happen for the Sri Lankan selectors when they gave enough chances to Lahiru Thirimane earlier. Sri Lankan selectors have shown leniency once again as they recalled him for the second Test and this can be his final chance in the longer format of the game.
On the contrary, India will have to take some tough decisions going into the second Test. Indian team management’s quandary of choosing two openers out of three for the second Test is more complicated than an engineer’s dilemma of choosing two subjects out of many for a trimester. Abhinav Mukund showed his stubborn approach during the first Test while Shikhar Dhawan proved that he is a prodigy when it comes to take the game away from the opposition in just a session or two. And KL Rahul’s opus in the last year or two in Test cricket cannot be neglected as he has established himself as India’s first choice opener. Kohli has confirmed that KL Rahul will play in Colombo so that leaves them with a tough choice between Dhawan and Mukund.
There is only one instance in Sri Lankan Test history when they won a Test series after losing the first match of the series. It came way back in the 1997-98 season, against New Zealand. The Island nation will have to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives in order to make a comeback in the series.
“India did come back the last time they were here, after losing in Galle. This is cricket, and if we apply ourselves and want (to come back), then we can. This is something we proved last year, when we beat Australia, then the world No 1 Test team, 3-0 when they were here. It wasn't a one-off win, because you can't win three Tests in a row without playing well. So, our players are capable. We need to give them a lot of confidence,” The Matara Mauler aka Sanath Jayasuriya told Times of India.
It will be intriguing to see whether Sri Lanka will bring an intrepid attitude in the second Test or impeccable India will continue their dominance in Test cricket.
Here’s a complete statistical lowdown before the second Test begins on Thursday:
Sri Lanka have not allowed any team to win more than two Tests at Colombo (SSC) till date.
Sri Lanka’s win/loss ratio of 2.71 at Colombo (SSC) is the best for them at any venue where they have played at least 10 Tests. Sri Lanka’s 19 wins at Colombo (SSC) is also the most for them at any venue.
It’s better to bat first at Colombo (SSC) in recent times according to following numbers:
Bat first/second at Colombo (SSC) in Tests
Matches – 40
Matches won by team Batting first – 13 (32.50%)
Matches won by team batting second– 13 (32.50%)
Matches – 15
Matches won by team Batting first – 5 (33.33%)
Matches won by team batting second – 3 (20%)
The average runs per wicket during different innings represents the clear picture of what teams should do after winning the toss at Colombo (SSC).
There is not much difference between stats of pacers and spinners at Colombo (SSC) in Test cricket over the years. The ones who will execute their plans better will win the battle.
When Cheteshwar Pujara takes the field at the SSC, he will become the 31st Indian player to achieve the milestone of playing 50 Tests for India. Let’s look at how he has performed in Tests over the years.
Pujara is in the fourth spot in the list of Indian players scoring most runs from their first 49 Tests.
Vital stats at Colombo (SSC) in Tests:
Highest team total: 756/5 d by Sri Lanka against South Africa in 2006
Lowest team total: 81 by Sri Lanka against England in 2001
Highest individual innings: 374 by Mahela Jayawardene against South Africa in 2006
Best bowling figures in an innings: 9/127 by Rangana Herath against Pakistan in 2014
Best match bowling figures: 14/184 by Rangana Herath against Pakistan in 2014
Most runs by an individual: 2921 by Mahela Jayawardene from 27 Tests (avg. 74.89)
Most wickets by an individual: 166 by Muttiah Muralitharan from 24 Tests (avg. 20.69)
– Ravichandran Ashwin needs to score 50 runs to become the fastest to achieve the double of 2000 runs and 250 wickets in Tests. The current record holder is Richard Hadlee who achieved the feat in 54 Tests. Ravichandran Ashwin has played 50 Tests so far.
– If India win the next Test then they will be become a visiting country with the joint most wins in Tests in Sri Lanka. Currently, they have won seven Tests out of 22.
– Cheteshwar Pujara needs to score 34 runs in his next Test innings to become the joint second fastest Indian to score 4000 runs in Tests in-terms of innings. He has amassed 3966 runs from 83 innings so far.