Review of England-Sri Lanka Tests

At the close of the  3-Test series in England on June 13, a total of 31 Tests had been played between the two countries since 1981-82. England led 12-8 with 11 draws.

In England, England lead 8-3 with 7 draws.

In Sri Lanka, England trail 4-5 with 4 draws.

We now look at batting performances for both teams.

Most runs (500 and above):

Most runs

M Jayawardene and KC Sangakkara have scored the most runs, followed by AN Cook.

M Jayawardene has the most centuries with 8, followed by several with 3.

Jayawardene also has the most 50-plus scores with 18, followed by Sangakkara with 12.

Highest individual scores (150 and above):

Highest innings

Inevitably Jayawardene has the highest score here, along with Jayasuriya.

Highest batting average (minimum 20 innings):

Batting average

M Jayawardene and AN Cook lead here as well.

Now for bowling performances

Most wickets (20 and above):

Most wickets

M Muralitharan leads by a large margin, with more than twice the wickets taken by the 2nd-placed JM Anderson.

These two also have the most fivers (8 and 4 respectively). Muralitharan has the most tenners (4) and no one else has more than 1.

Best innings bowling (6 or more wickets):

innings bowling

Muralitharan has the top 3 performances. Also note Emburey’s 6-33 in the first Test between these countries.

Best match bowling (9 or more wickets):

Match bowling

Muralitharan heads this list with one of the best match bowling performances of all time. Anderson recorded the best for England in the first Test at Leeds in 2016.

Bowling averages (minimum 2000 balls):

Bowling average

Muralitharan and Anderson inevitably top this as well, followed by the unlikely Jayasuriya.

The best economy rates are 2.03 (Muralitharan) and 2.08 (Jayasuriya).

The best strike rates are 48.0 (Anderson), 58.7 (Hoggard) and 59.0 (Muralitharan).

Now for fielding performances.

Most fielding dismissals (10 and above):

Most dismissals

Sangakkara and Prior head the table.

Also, Sangakkara has the most stumpings (6), Prior the most catches by a keeper (39) and M Jayawardene the most catches by a fielder (38). Also note JM Bairstow’s 19 dismissals in the current 3-Test series.

The most dismissals in an innings are 5 by Sangakkara, GO Jones and JM Bairstow.  In a match it is 9 by Bairstow in the first Test at Leeds in 2016.

Dismissals per innings (minimum 20 innings, 0.45 and above):

dismissals per innings

All-round performances:


Allround overall

Even with relaxed criteria we only get two here, with Jayasuriya being the unlikely leader.

Match performances (at least one fifty and one four-for):

Allround match

Only three instances, all from Sri Lanka. Mathews’s performance would appear to be the best.


Summary of all T20Is between India and Sri Lanka

With the conclusion of the recent series which India won 2-1, India now leads Sri Lanka 5-4 in this format. The summary of results of all these 9 matches:

Ind-SL T20 summary

Not much of a data set, but we do our customary run through all statistics of matches in this format between these countries.

Overall batting (total of 75 runs and above):

Ind-SL overall batting

Sangakkara and Raina scored the most runs. Raina and Dhoni are the only ones to play all the 9 matches, while Dilshan and a few others have played in 8.

Sangakkara has scored 3 fifties and Kohli 2. No one else has scored more than one.

Looking at highest innings scores (40 and above):

Ind-SL indiv scores

Sangakkara and Kohli have the highest scores. In the present series there was only one fifty, by Dhawan.

Highest batting averages (minimum 5 innings batted):

Ind-SL batting averages

Raina and Kapugedera head this list. And the highest strike rates are by Kapugedera (155.88) followed by Gambhir (151.11)

Now to bowling.

Overall bowling (4 wickets and above):

Ind-SL overall bowling

Ashwin (11) and newcomer Chameera (5) have taken the most wickets for their teams.

Best innings bowling (3wi and above)

Ind-SL best bowling

Ashwin achieved the best bowling figures in the last match of this series. Earlier in the series Shanaka and Rajitha achieved the best bowling figures for Sri Lanka against India.

Bowling averages (minimum 5 innings bowled):

Ind-SL bowling average

Ashwin has by far the best bowling average (though the next one is more surprising). Ashwin also has the best economy rate and strike rate.

Now for fielding.

Most dismissals (2 and above):

Ind-SL overall fielding

Dhoni has the most dismissals (8) followed by Raina with 5, which is the most for a non-keeper. Dhoni also has the most stumpings (3).

Most dismissals in an innings (2 and above):

Ind-SL match dismissals

Dhoni has once taken 3 dismissals (1 c, 2 st) while several non-keepers have taken 2 catches in an innings.

Best dismissal rate (0.250 and above)

Ind-SL dismissal rate

Dhoni and Raina head the list, and M. Jayawardene has the best rate for Sri Lanka

Overall all-round figures:

Ind-SL overall allround

Raina is the only one who qualifies with these modest criteria.

Best all-round figures in a match (minimum 20 runs and 2 wickets):

Ind-SL match allround

Clearly Yuvraj has the best figures here, followed by Ashwin.


A summary of India-Sri Lanka Tests in Sri Lanka since 1985

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:

Ind v SL in SL match results

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.

Batting aggregates

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:

Indiv 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:

match bowling

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:

Fielding agg

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.

All-round performances:


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:

India allround

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.