Who Are Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka, also nicknamed the “Lions”, were awarded Test status in 1981 and played their first Test match that year against England at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo Sri Lanka. In total Sri Lanka have played 302 Test matches in which they have won 95, lost 115, and drawn 92. Their current Test captain is opening batsmen Dimuth Karunartne and Chris Silverwood (former England head coach) has recently been appointed as head coach.
Traditionally Sri Lanka have been a difficult team to beat at home as they are renowned for having spinning pitches and difficult playing conditions due to extreme heat. Although Sri Lanka have produced some masterful players which have dominated in these conditions and conditions all over the world. The likes of Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkarra, Chaminda Vaas, and Rangana Herath.
The Test History of Sri Lanka
After being awarded Test status in 1981, Sri Lanka had to wait a long time before they achieved their first Test win. They had to wait until 1985, where they beat India, in the second match of the series by 149 runs at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. This would also go on to become their first series victory. They had to wait another seven years before their next series victory which came against New Zealand in 1992. In this period Sri Lanka was always known as the underdogs.
But a highlight for Sri Lanka came in 2001-02, when they won the Asian Test Championship, beating Pakistan in the final by an innings and 175 runs. This was the start of a successful period for Sri Lanka with the like of Muralitharan, Vaas, Jayasuriya, Ranatunga, Jayawardena, and Sangakkarra.
After the retirements of these players Sri Lanka have struggled in Test cricket. Losing home series versus England in 2020/21 and 2018/19. Sri Lanka finished second last in the inaugural World Test Championship.
Who Holds the Test Records for Sri Lanka?
Muttiah Muralitharan, who was hailed by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2002 as the “best bowler ever” in Test cricket, dominates the bowling records not only for Sri Lanka but also the whole of Test cricket. He is the world record holder for the highest number of wickets (800 from 133 matches between 1992 and 2010), the most five wicket hauls per innings (67), as well as the most ten wicket hauls per match (22).
Honourable mentions also go to Chaminda Vaas who is Sri Lanka leading fast bowler, in terms of wickets taken with 355, and Rangana Herath, who took over Sri Lanka’s spin bowling mantle after Muralitharan retired, he ended up taking an impressive 433 wickets himself.
Two players standout for Sri Lanka in terms of their batting records – the pair of Kumar Sangakkarra and Mahela Jayawardena. Sangakkarra holds the records for most runs, scoring 12,400 runs in 233 innings, at an average of 57.40, with a record 38 Test match hundreds. Sangakkarra is also the sixth highest run scorer of all time in Test matches. Jayawardena is not far behind as he sits in ninth place.
He scored 11,814 runs in 252 innings, which included the highest runs scored in a single innings by a Sri Lankan batsman, scoring 374 runs off 572 balls versus South Africa in 2006 (this is the 4th highest score of all time in a single innings). During Jayawardena’s innings, himself and Sangakkarra, also amassed the highest scoring partnership of all time, scoring 624 runs between them.