History is stacked against Sri Lanka in the Kolkata Test match
As India and Sri Lanka fight it out in the Kolkata Test match, history will be haunting the visitors. Sri Lanka has played 17 matches against India on Indian soil and has not managed to win a single one of them. Sri Lanka’s overall win percentage against India has fluctuated over the past decades but the record on Indian soil has been flat.
Top Indian players have also tended to put in better performances compared to top Sri Lankan players in India vs Sri Lanka matches. For instance, India’s top batsman in the 1980s (in terms of runs against the Lankans) Dilip Vengsarkar had a higher average than Sri Lanka’s top batsman (in terms of runs against Indians) Duleep Mendis. In the 1990s, Sachin Tendulkar outshone Aravinda de Silva, and in the current decade, Shikhar Dhawan has a higher batting average than Angelo Mathews. The 2000s were an exception, when Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene outshone India’s Rahul Dravid in cricketing encounters.
Among bowlers, the pattern is largely similar. Kapil Dev outdid Rumesh Ratnayake in the 1980s, and Anil Kumble upstaged Muttiah Muralitharan in the 1990s. The 2000s again were an exception, when Muralitharan’s bowling average in India-Sri Lanka encounters was better than that of Harbhajan Singh, who was India’s top wicket-taker against Lankans in that period.
The late 1990s and the early 2000s marked the golden phase of Sri Lankan cricket, when some of their best performers were at the peak of their careers. But even during those years, they failed to win a Test match in India. The chances of a depleted Lankan team beating the top-ranked Test team on their home soil appear slim.
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