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Revisiting Sri Lanka's Test wins in Pakistan

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Sri_Lanka_Test_Wins_Pakistan_CricketTest cricket has returned to Pakistan after more than a decade, as the hosts battle it out against Sri Lanka in a two-match series, the first of which ended as a much-interrupted draw. The Sri Lankans have given a good account of themselves in Pakistan over the years, as a record of six wins and eight losses in 21 Tests suggests. Moreover, they have not lost any of their last four series there, with their last series defeat coming in 1991-92. As the subcontinental duel unfolds, here is a look back at Sri Lanka’s Test wins in Pakistan.

De Silva hundred turns the tide – Second Test, Faisalabad, 1995-96

Prior to this Test, Sri Lanka’s record in Pakistan read six defeats and four draws. The first Test at Peshawar had seen Pakistan win by an innings, but Sri Lanka were boosted by the arrival of Aravinda de Silva, who had been playing for Kent. However, it was Pakistan who drew first blood, as they reduced Sri Lanka to 33/4 after winning the toss, despite the absence of Waqar Younis. Due to a fine 115 from number six Hashan Tillekaratne, the Lions posted a fighting 223.

Pakistan responded solidly to lead by 110 (captain Ramiz Raja scoring 75), even as off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan snared 5/68. Sri Lanka fell to 24/2 in their second innings, but Chandika Hathurusingha (83) and de Silva (105) combined for a third-wicket stand of 176, which laid the base for a total of 361 (Aaqib Javed 5/84). ‘Murali’, fellow offie Kumar Dharmasena and pacer Chaminda Vaas (4/45) then hampered Pakistan’s chase of 252, handing the visitors a 42-run win.

A maiden series win in Pakistan – Third Test, Sialkot, 1995-96

Sri Lanka’s landmark win at Faisalabad brought it down to the decider at the Jinnah Stadium. Though pace aces Waqar and Wasim Akram were both unavailable (the latter having sustained a shoulder injury in the second Test), Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to 232, Dharmasena top-scoring with 62*. But Muralitharan continued to be an irritant for the home batsmen, as he took 4/72 to provide Sri Lanka with a cushion of 18 – Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 41 runs.

Sri Lanka slipped to 97/3 in the second dig, before Hathurusingha (73) and skipper Arjuna Ranatunga (87) put on 78 for the fourth wicket. Vital runs from Tillekaratne (50) enabled a declaration at 338/9, leaving Pakistan to chase 357. Pramodya Wickremasinghe (4/55) and Vaas (4/37) sent the score crashing to a woeful 15/5, before Moin Khan (117) lifted the total to 212. This was Sri Lanka’s second away series win, after a 1-0 win in New Zealand six months earlier.

A gripping humdinger – First Test, Rawalpindi, 1999-00

Wickremasinghe (4/37) and Muralitharan (4/45) rolled Pakistan over for 182 on the first day. To add to Pakistan’s problems, Wasim went out of the attack early due to a groin strain. Waqar (4/103) reduced Sri Lanka to 69/3, at which point de Silva (112) took centre stage. His fifth-wicket stand with Ranatunga fetched 117, and after he was out, Vaas (53*) took the total to 353. Captain Saeed Anwar (84) steered Pakistan thereafter, but at 236/8, his team’s lead was only 65.

However, debutant Younis Khan and Wasim (79) shared a ninth-wicket stand of 145 – the former was last out at 390 to Muralitharan (4/127) for 107. Captain Jayasuriya (56) spearheaded the 220-run chase, but Abdul Razzaq (4/56) led a spirited bowling effort. Ranatunga retired hurt due to a broken thumb at 146/5, and returned at a worrying 177/8. The 36-year-old veteran grittily put on 43* with Romesh Kaluwitharana to seal an exciting two-wicket win for Sri Lanka.

Murali magic at it again – Second Test, Peshawar, 1999-00

Muralitharan did even better in the second Test to inspire Sri Lanka’s second successive series win in Pakistan. Injuries and illnesses kept plaguing Pakistan – Moin and Saqlain Mushtaq joined Wasim in the casualty list ahead of the match. Speedster Shoaib Akhtar, who replaced Wasim, bagged 5/75 to limit Sri Lanka to 268. His victims included Marvan Atapattu, who top-scored with 75. In response, Pakistan were 137/2 when Anwar was scalped by Jayasuriya for 74.

This led to a collapse towards 199 all out, as except for Inzamam-ul-Haq (58*), no other batsman could stay for long. Russel Arnold, batting at number three, built on the momentum by scoring 99, but Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 36 to be bowled out for 224. Muralitharan, having taken 4/77 in the first innings, captured another 6/71 to derail Pakistan in a challenging chase of 292. Only Yousuf Youhana (88) showed fight, as Sri Lanka clinched victory by 57 runs.

Sangakkara special floors Pakistan – Asian Test Championship Final, Lahore, 2001-02

The left-handed Kumar Sangakkara, who also kept wickets in the game, gave an early indication of his talent with a sublime double ton that was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s win in the final of the second and last edition of the Asian Test Championship. Pakistan mustered a modest 234 after being inserted, with pacer Dilhara Fernando (3/84) and Muralitharan (4/55) sharing seven wickets. The Sri Lankan innings had an early loss, as Waqar dismissed Atapattu off the first ball.

This brought Sangakkara to the middle, and he went on to smash 230 – the second highest Test score by a wicketkeeper - in 327 balls. He put on 203 for the second wicket with captain Jayasuriya (88) and 173 for the third wicket with Mahela Jayawardene (68), and batted for eight hours. The total swelled to 528, before Vaas (4/85) and Muralitharan (4/72) kept Pakistan to 325, despite the efforts of Shahid Afridi (70) and Inzamam (99). Sri Lanka duly won by eight wickets.

Jayasuriya decides to go big – First Test, Faisalabad, 2004-05

Sangakkara’s 230 was the highest score in this fixture until Jayasuriya bettered it with a remarkable innings. Sri Lanka slid to 77/4 against Akhtar (5/60) and Mohammad Sami (4/71), before Thilan Samaraweera (100) propelled the total to 243. The Sri Lankan bowlers saw to it that no one scored more than Yasir Hameed (58), and restricted Pakistan’s lead to 21. When Sri Lanka were 15/1 in the second innings, Jayasuriya was caught behind off Akhtar – off a no-ball.

The ‘Matara Marauder’ cashed in, sharing in stands of 98 for the second wicket with Sangakkara (59), 118 for the third with Jayawardene (57), 93 for the fourth with Samaraweera, and 101 for the ninth with Fernando, who scored just one run. He was last out for 253 from 438 balls, having batted for 490 minutes. With Pakistan needing 418, Fernando (4/77) reduced them to 86/4, before left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (4/64) took over to confirm a 201-run win for Sri Lanka.



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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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