India aim to breach Sri Lanka's fortress at Galle

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 24, 2017 17:54 hrs
Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will aim to start their second innings on a winning note

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will begin their second innings as captain and head coach as India gear up to take on Sri Lanka in the first of the three Tests at Galle, starting Wednesday.

While India have had an outstanding run in Tests over the last one year, Sri Lanka have just gone down hill with their performance in Tests. However, Sri Lanka are a formidable side at home and they will be entering the Test on the back of a superlative run chase against Zimbabwe. India can be quietly confident of their chances but will be wise not to underestimate the Lankans.

India have toured Sri Lanka seven times for bilateral Test series. They have lost three series, won two and drew two. India have played 21 Tests in Sri Lanka and have won six, lost seven while eight have been drawn. One of these Tests was part of the Asian Test Championship in 1999 which was drawn.

Venue Stats

India's win-loss record away from home in Tests against the top eight Test playing nations is the best in Sri Lanka (0.86). The pitches in Sri Lanka are pretty similar to the ones in India.

They are either flat decks which are good for batting or ones which are rank turners. The table below gives the records of all the five venues in Sri Lanka which have hosted Tests between Sri Lanka and India.

Team 1 Team 2 Ground Tests W L D W/L Ratio
Sri Lanka India Galle International Stadium 4 3 1 0 3
Sri Lanka India P Sara Oval, Colombo 5 2 2 1 1
Sri Lanka India SSC Club Ground, Colombo 8 2 2 4 1
Sri Lanka India Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy 3 0 1 2 0
Sri Lanka India R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 1 0 0 1 0

If you take a minimum cutoff of 10 Tests, then Sri Lanka have the best win-loss ratio at Galle (2.833). Sri Lanka have played 29 Tests at Galle and have won 17, lost six, while six have been drawn. The Island nation has hosted India in four Tests at Galle and have won three Tests while India have won one Test.

Toss Aspect

The side winning the toss at Galle has elected to bat on 24 out of the 29 occasions, which indicates that it is a pitch which is good for batting. The team winning the toss has won the match on 16 out of the 23 Tests in which there has been a decisive result. 

Out of these 16 occasions, Sri Lanka have won 11 times, while the opposition have won 5 times. Out of the 24 occasions on which a team winning the toss has elected to bat first, they have won on 14 occasions, out of which 10 have been by Sri Lanka.

Stats highlights between India and Sri Lanka at Galle

  • Virender Sehwag has scored the maximum aggregate runs for India at this venue, scoring 391 runs at a batting average of 130.33 with two centuries. He has also scored the highest individual score by an Indian when he carried his bat with an unbeaten 201 in July 2008.
  • Kumar Sangakkara has scored the maximum aggregate runs for Sri Lanka, scoring 322 runs at an average of 64.4 with two centuries. The highest individual score by a Sri Lankan against India at this venue is an unbeaten 162 by Dinesh Chandimal in August 2015. There have been seven centuries scored in Tests between the two teams at this ground, out of which three are by Indians while four are by Sri Lankans.
  • Muttiah Muralitharan has taken the most aggregate wickets for Sri Lanka with 21, while Rangana Herath has taken the best figures in an innings with 7/48 in August 2015. Sri Lankan bowlers have taken five wickets in an innings six times while Indian bowlers have done it three times.
  • The highest score by Sri Lanka at this venue has been 520/8 declared in July 2010, while India’s highest is 375 in August 2015.
  • The average score by a team in the first innings of the match over the last 10 Tests is 391.

Recap: Sri Lanka vs India, First Test, Galle International Stadium, 12th to 15th August 2015

Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka were stung by Ravichandran Ashwin who took 6/46 in 13.4 overs to bowl out Sri Lanka for 183.

In reply, India were in a spot of bother at 28/2 when Virat Kohli came to the crease. Along with Shikhar Dhawan, he put on a partnership of 227 for the third wicket.

Kohli and Dhawan scored 103 and 134 respectively. However, India became complacent and lost wickets in a heap after that to be dismissed for 375. This gave India a first innings lead of 192.

In Sri Lanka’s second innings they were reeling at 92/5 and an innings defeat for Sri Lanka looked on the cards.

However, Dinesh Chandimal came to the party playing an innings of such belligerence that India went on the defensive. Lahiru Thirimanne and Jehan Mubarak played supporting roles scoring 44 and 49 respectively.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 167 with Chandimal remaining unbeaten on 162 of 169 balls. India needed 176 to win the Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three Test series.

However, apart from Ajinkya Rahane (36) no other Indian batsman crossed the 30-run mark. Rangana Herath spun a web around India’s batsmen taking 7/48 as Sri Lanka won by 63 runs, to take a 1-0 lead in the three Test series.

The Indian team have come a long way since that defeat and a strong performance in the first Test starting on 26th July will erase memories of that defeat.

The author tweets @ravivenkat007

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