Sri Lanka got Test status in early 1982, played one Test at Madras the next year and India toured there in the autumn of 1985. That series resulted in Sri Lanka’s first ever Test and series victories. Here is a summary of all the Tests played by India in Sri Lanka:
Subsequently India won 1-0 in 1993 but did not win a series again until 2015. A 0-0 draw in 1997 and single drawn Test in 1999 was followed by a sequence of 3-Test series where India always won at least one Test but failed to win the series. Thus India had a 2-1 loss in 2001 and again in 2008, drew 1-1 in 2010 and won 2-1 in 2015.
Batsmen who scored 250 runs or more in the series, led by 4-figure totals by Jayawardene and Tendulkar. However T. Samaraweera has the highest average followed by Jayasuriya.
The highest individual scores:
Clearly this series was not as batsman-friendly as previous ones, as only Chandimal crossed 150. Pujara emulated Sehwag in carrying his bat through the innings.
Now to bowling:
Muralitharan (65) has more than twice the number of wickets than the next in line. The best averages appear to be by Ashwin followed by Prabhakar (!), best economy by Kapil followed by Prabhakar again, and the best strike rates by Ashwin followed by Mishra. One can conclude that Sri Lankan bowlers other than Muralitharan did not do better than their Indian counterparts.
Best bowling in an innings:
Ashwin recorded the best innings bowling figures for India in this series, while Herath had the second-best figures for Sri Lanka. Both of these instances occurred at Galle.
Best bowling in a match:
Ashwin emulated Harbhajan’s 10-wicket haul at Galle. Muralitharan’s two 11-wicket hauls at Colombo (SSC) did not inspire his team in the final Test this time.
A quick look at fielding:
Amal Silva had a dream run of 22 dismissals (plus a century) in 3 Tests, while the two Jayawardenes take up the next two places:
Most fielding dismissals in a match:
Note Rahane’s world record of catches by a non-keeper in a Test. He is also one of several to take a record 5 catches in an innings.
The aggregate performances are not too good, but it is interesting to see that Mishra and Malinga hold the top two places although they would not generally be considered all-rounders.
All-round performances in a match:
Malinga and Ashwin have the best match figures. No sign of better-known all-rounders such as Kapil and Vaas.
Two fifties by a wicketkeeper on debut:
This has happened only three times in all Tests. And two of these players played in the third Test:
Who is now India’s greatest all-rounder?
Most would reply with Kapil Dev, but numerically we can say that R. Ashwin may have got the top position now. Of course, the cutoff criteria for selecting all-rounders are not explicitly defined but I feel the analysis below does cover all aspects. See the criteria at the top of the table:
Also note that Mishra creeps into the all-rounder league, at the same level as Kumble and Harbhajan.
In comparison we create the same table for Sri Lanka:
Jayasuriya with his occasional spin turns out to be Sri Lanka’s best all-rounder, while Vaas would generally have that label. Even Dharmasena (better known as an umpire than a player) makes an appearance.