Will the upcoming Test series between India and Sri Lanka see the visitors claw back some lost pride or will Virat Kohli's men script another chapter of dominance? The numbers and form suggest that the latter is likelier but cricket is a game of uncertainty so anything can happen and that’s what the onlookers would want to witness. An intriguing and hard-fought series.
India are No 1 in the ICC Test rankings so the ball will be in Sri Lanka’s court to win their first ever Test in India during the upcoming the series but it will be easier said than done. The Islanders will try to make the series interesting with their performances, and run India close.
India are now no longer a side with the same group of players in all the three formats. They have few Test specialists back for the series before their major Test against the mighty South Africans in the next year. India have few questions to answer before the series starts. Who will be the opening partner for the reliable Murali Vijay? Who will form India's pace attack? How many bowlers will they want to go in with? Are they interested in having Rohit Sharma straightaway in the XI? There will be constant changes in the final XI in each and every Test according to the conditions as Indian captain and team management are known for not playing with the same eleven players in consecutive matches.
Sri Lanka won their last Test series against Pakistan by a margin of 2-0 in UAE but the quality of the opposition batsmen will be different as it has always been tough for any team to beat India in India irrespective of the format. It will be indispensable for the whole team to come up with a plan and win crucial moments of the game to put India under pressure as India have not lost a Test series under the leadership of Virat Kohli yet.
The next few weeks will give us an indication about whether the series will be prosaic or not but for the time being India are overwhelming favourites.
Here's a look at the stats and facts before the first Test of the series begins at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on 16 November.
Apart from Australia, India are the only country in which Sri Lanka have not won a Test.
India have a 8-3 record against Sri Lanka when it comes to winning Test series’ which further make them favourites to win the upcoming Test series. The last time Sri Lanka won a Test series against India was back in 2008 but it was played in Sri Lanka.
India have only lost a Test out of their last 25 Tests which sums up the size of the task that Sri Lanka face.
Recent form (last 10 Tests, starting from the most recent)
India: W, W, W, W, D, W, L, W, W, W
Sri Lanka: W, W, L, L, L, W, L, W, L, L
The first Test usually sets the tone for the rest of the series and Sri Lanka have drawn the first Test of a series on last three occasions in India but they lost the series theref after. This is a statistic that they will look to change this time around.
The following numbers show that the pacers have performed slightly better than spinners at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in last 10 years in Tests.
India are on the verge of eclipsing their own record of winning most international matches in a calendar year if they win atleast one of the three Tests in the series. They have already won 31 Tests out of 44 in 2017.
Sri Lanka’s record in this calendar year in international cricket certainly substantiates that they have to be competitive if they want to remain as an international Test team. They have lost more matches than any other team in a single calendar year in international cricket so far in 2017.
Here are some individual records held in India versus Sri Lanka Tests held in India:
For India: 846 runs by Rahul Dravid from 8 matches
For Sri Lanka: 628 runs by Mahela Jayawardene from 6 matches
For India: 44 wickets by Anil Kumble from 9 matches
For Sri Lanka: 40 wickets by Muttiah Muralitharan from 11 matches
For India: 16 dismissals by MS Dhoni from 6 matches
For Sri Lanka: Seven dismissals by Kumar Sangakkara from 3 matches
For India: 15 catches by Mohammad Azharuddin from 8 matches
For Sri Lanka: 6 catches by Arvinda de Silva from 10 matches
For India: 726/9d at Mumbai (BS) in 2009
For Sri Lanka: 760/7d at Ahmedabad in 2009
For India: 167 at Chennai in 2005
For Sri Lanka: 82 at Chandigarh in 1990
Highest individual score:
For India: 293 runs by Virender Sehwag at Mumbai (Brabourne Stadium) in 2009
For Sri Lanka: 275 runs by Jayawardene at Ahmedabad in 2009
Best bowling figures in an innings:
For India: 7/51 by Maninder Singh at Nagpur in 1986
For Sri Lanka: 7/100 by Muttiah Muralitharan at Delhi in 2005
Best bowling figures in a match:
For India: 11/125 by Venkatapathy Raju at Ahmedabad in 1994
For Sri Lanka: 11/128 by Kumble at Lucknow in 1994