Sri Lanka are set to begin only their fourth Test series in the Caribbean, and their first there in ten years, with the first of three Tests starting at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain tomorrow. Since their first meeting in whites in 1993-94, the two island teams have played each other 17 times. Here is a look at the key numbers from the brief history of this intermittent fixture.
Sri Lanka have won eight and lost three of the 17 Tests they have played against the West Indies. In the Caribbean, the Windies hold the edge, winning three and losing one out of six Tests. While Sri Lanka have never won a series in the West Indies, the West Indies have not yet won a Test match in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s sole win in the Caribbean was at Providence in 2007-08.
Highest and lowest team totals
The highest team total in this fixture is Sri Lanka’s 627/9d at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo in 2001-02. The highest total for the West Indies is 580/9d at Galle in 2010-11. Sri Lanka’s highest total in the Caribbean is 476/8d at Providence in 2007-08. So far, there have been seven totals in excess of 400 – four times by Sri Lanka and thrice by the West Indies.
On the other hand, the lowest team total in this fixture is 113 by the West Indies at the SSC in 2005. In fact, all the five totals of less than 150 have been recorded by the West Indies, four of them in Sri Lanka, and one – 147 at Kingstown in 1996-97 – at home. Sri Lanka’s lowest total is 150 at Kandy in 2005, while their lowest in the Caribbean is 152 at St. John’s in 1996-97.
Most runs scored
West Indian legend Brian Lara is the only batsman to have scored more than 1000 runs in this fixture. In 14 innings from eight Tests, Lara amassed 1125 runs at an average of 86.53, with five hundreds (two of which were converted into double hundreds) and two fifties. His best effort is 221 in the first innings at the SSC in 2001-02; he followed it up with another 130 in the second innings.
Brian Lara raises his bat after reaching his century on the first day of the Colombo Test in 2001-02. He has scored 1125 Test runs at 86.53 against Sri Lanka (source – AFP)
The highest run-scorer for Sri Lanka is Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 918 runs in 19 innings from 12 Tests at 54.00, with three hundreds, five fifties, and a best of 157* at Kandy in 2005. The others to have scored in excess of 600 runs are the West Indies’ Ramnaresh Sarwan (749 at 57.61), and the Sri Lankan duo of Mahela Jayawardene (748 at 44.00) and Thilan Samaraweera (644 at 49.53).
Highest individual score
There have been four individual scores in excess of 200 in this fixture, with Chris Gayle’s 333 at Galle in 2010-11 being the highest. Lara comes in at the next two positions, with 221 at the SSC in 2001-02 and 209 at Gros Islet in 2003. The highest score by a Sri Lankan is 204*, by Hashan Tillakaratne at the SSC in 2001-02. Lara has scored the most hundreds (five), followed by Sangakkara (three).
The only double-century partnership in this fixture is the stand of 238 for the second wicket between Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal at Galle in 2015-16. The highest for the West Indies is 196, between Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo for the second wicket at Galle in 2010-11. The highest in the Caribbean is 174, between Wavell Hinds and Lara for the third wicket at Gros Islet in 2003.
Most wickets taken
The top three wicket-takers in this fixture are all Sri Lankans. Leading the pack is the great off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, with 82 scalps in 12 Tests at 19.62, including nine five-wicket innings hauls and three ten-wicket match hauls. Muralitharan’s best innings return is 8/46 in the second innings at Kandy in 2005, while his best match return is 11/170 at Galle in 2001-02.
The only other bowler with more than 50 wickets is left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, with 55 wickets at 16.60. In third place is left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (23 at 25.65), followed by Jerome Taylor (19 at 32.00, the highest tally by a West Indian), and his fellow West Indian pacemen Corey Collymore and Curtly Ambrose, both of whom took 14 wickets, at 11.35 and 13.57 respectively.
Best bowling figures in an innings
Muralitharan’s 8/46 at Kandy in 2005 are the best bowling figures in an innings. The best by a West Indian are 7/57 by Collymore, at Kingston in 2003. The other two seven-wicket hauls belong to Vaas, who took 7/120 in the first innings and 7/71 in the second innings at the SSC in 2001-02. Muralitharan has, by far, the most number of five-wicket hauls (nine), followed by Vaas (four) and Collymore (two).
It is not surprising that ace off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the leading wicket-taker in Sri Lanka v West Indies Tests, with 82 scalps at 19.62 (source – quora.com)
Best bowling figures in a match
Vaas’ 14/191 at the SSC in 2001-02 are easily the best bowling figures in a match in this fixture. All five ten-wicket hauls have been recorded by Sri Lankan bowlers, and all of them in Sri Lanka – three by Muralitharan and one each by Vaas and Herath. The best match return by a West Indian bowler is 9/85, by Collymore at Kingston in 2003, which is also the best return in the Caribbean.
Most catches and dismissals
The leading fielder in this fixture is Mahela Jayawardene, with 19 catches in 12 Tests, followed by Lara, who pouched 14 catches in eight Tests. The leading wicketkeeper is West Indian Denesh Ramdin, with 26 dismissals (25 catches and one stumping) in six Tests. The highest tally for Sri Lanka is 15 (13 catches and two stumpings) in 12 Tests, by Sangakkara.
Averages and series records
The highest batting average in this fixture is 89.20, recorded by Tillakaratne (446 runs), closely followed by Lara’s 86.53. The best bowling average is 7.16, recorded by the West Indies’ part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite (six wickets). Considering a minimum of ten wickets, the best average is Collymore’s 11.35 (14 wickets).
The most number of runs in a series is 688, at 114.66, by Lara in Sri Lanka in 2001-02. In fact, this is the second-highest tally ever by a batsman in a three-Test series. The highest for Sri Lanka is Tillakaratne’s 403 at a jaw-dropping average of 403.00 in the same series. Vaas’ 26 wickets at 15.42, also in the same series, are the most taken by a bowler in a series in this fixture.
Most matches played
With 12 Tests each, the Sri Lankan trio of Mahela Jayawardene, Muralitharan and Sangakkara have made the most appearances in this fixture. For the West Indies, the highest is Gayle’s tally of ten Tests. Besides these four, the only other player to feature in at least ten Tests in this fixture is Samaraweera (11 Tests).