India vs Sri Lanka: When Rumesh Ratnayake decimated Kapil Dev and Co and took Islanders to first Test win
Just three years into playing Test cricket, Sri Lanka earned their first Test win in 1985, playing dominating cricket against neighbours India.
Having entered the Test arena in 1982, it did not take a lot of time for Sri Lanka to earn their first Test win. The victory came in 1985 in a home series against their neighbours India.
Until that point, Sri Lanka had played 13 Tests and lost eight of them. India were visiting Sri Lanka months after winning the World Championship of Cricket in Australia, with a team consisting of heavyweights like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kris Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri and Mohinder Amarnath.
There was not much doubt about which team was the favourite to win the series.
By the time the first Test was over, the Indian team got to know that the hosts were not minnows anymore. Thanks to centuries from Ranjan Madugalle and Arjuna Ranatunga in the first innings, and a six-wicket haul by pacer Rumesh Ratnayake in the second innings, the Duleep Mendis-led team were able to draw the match.
In spite of the Test ending up in a draw, the Indians were completely outplayed by the Lankans.
But the real humiliation was to come in the second Test.
Batting first, Sri Lanka, once again put up a good show with the bat, scoring 385, with wicket-keeper Amal Silva hitting a fine century and Roy Dias falling just five runs short of his hundred.
In reply, India were bowled out for a paltry 244. Six players from the eleven couldn't go past the single-digit mark while opener Srikkanth was the top-scorer with 64. Strangely, one of the best openers in the world at that time, Sunil Gavaskar, was batting in the middle-order. He did make 52 in the innings but that came off 166 balls.
Ratnayake was again the wrecker-in-chief for his team with a spell of 4/76 in 25.1 overs.
India were struggling with their bowling too. While the Sri Lankan pace trio of Ashantha de Mel, Saliya Ahangama and Ratnayake were able to swing the ball and take wickets, Indian captain Kapil Dev toiled hard for absolutely no returns (he took just one wicket in the innings combined).
Sri Lanka scored briskly in their second innings. Aravinda de Silva made 75, while Dias remained unbeaten on 60 as they declared on 206/3.
The target for India in order to level the series was 348. It was time for the team's famous batting line-up to up the ante and do the thing that was expected of them — to score runs.
But once again, Ratnayake's fiery spell caused much distress for the visitors. The top order collapsed and despite resistance from Kapil, who played a fighting knock of 78, India were bowled out for 198.
All of Sri Lanka celebrated their team's first Test triumph, with the government announcing a public holiday the next day.
Things did not improve for India in the next match also as captain Mendis scored an epic ton in the second innings to make sure the Test ended in a draw.
After the series, Kapil blamed lack of practice for their poor performance as the team wasn't sure if they would be travelling to the island nation because of the civil war that was going on there.
"We did not perform too well because of lack of practice. We just did not know whether this tour of Sri Lanka was on or not. We were not mentally prepared for the ordeal," Kapil told Sportstar.
But there was no question about who were the deserving winners of the series. Sri Lanka showed the world that they had come of age, who had now to be considered a force to reckon with.
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