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India vs Sri Lanka in ODIs – A 42-year old rivalry that started in 1979

India led by Shikhar Dhawan are on a tour of Sri Lanka for a nearly one-month long tour comprising of three ODIs and three T20Is. Coached by the former skipper of India, Rahul Dravid the team is full of young talent who have performed at a decent click over the years in IPL, the domestic circuit and in the opportunities that they have got to play for India.

This article looks back at the initial games between the two sides and the top performers across categories in the latter part to give an idea into the overall records for the reader.

Looking back, India and Sri Lanka came face to face with each other for the first time in the 1979 World Cup in England. The match was played at Old Trafford in Manchester on June 16, 1979 and was won by the Sri Lankan team by a margin of 47 runs. Sunil Wettimuny (67), Roy Dias (50) and Duleep Mendis (64) combined together in a brilliant top order batting performance to help their team to a total of 238/5 in the allotted 60 overs. The established Indian batting lineup consisting of Sunil Gavaskar, Anshuman Gaekwad, Dilip Vengsarkar, Gundappa Vishwanath and Mohinder Amarnath among others folded up for 191 runs in return wrecked mainly by Tony Opatha’s 3/31 and Somachandra De Silva’s 3/29 respectively.


If one looks at the overall records then India have an upper hand as they have won 91 of the 159 matches played against Sri Lanka. India have lost 56 matches while one match ended in a tie and 11 matches produced no results.

Head-to-Head in Sri Lanka

In the 61 matches played in Sri Lanka, India have won 28 games while Sri Lanka have won 27 games while 6 matches have produced no results.

The initial years

After the 1979 match World Cup match, Sri Lanka came to India for their maiden Test tour in 1982. During that tour, three One-Dayers were played in Amritsar, Delhi and Bengaluru. India won all of these matches in a clean sweep for their nation. India were captained by Sunil Gavaskar and Sri Lanka were captained by Bandula Warnapura. Kris Srikanth top-scored for India with 244 runs in the series with three fifties to his name and played a vital role in India’s victory in all the matches.

The next important series between India and Sri Lanka was played in the latter’s home conditions in the year 1985. This was a well-fought out series where India led by Kapil Dev won the first match against Sri Lanka led by Duleep Mendis at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo by a narrow margin of 2 wickets on the back of a scintillating display of batsmanship by Dilip Vengsarkar who scored 89 off 82 balls. The next two matches were played at P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo itself and were affected by rain. However, the second match reached its conclusion, even though after being reduced to 28 overs a side. Sri Lanka beat India by 14 runs in this match. The third match couldn’t get completed after rain dimmed the chances of play while the second innings was in progress and the series ended in a 1-1 draw.

India then beat Sri Lanka 4-1 in the 1986-87 ODI series played between the two countries in the former’s home conditions. Kapil Dev continued to be the captain of the India team during this tour and Sri Lanka were also led by Duleep Mendis. Veteran Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar who was at the fag end of his career scored the most runs for his team with 202 runs with 2 fifties. Raju Kulkarni and Kapil Dev bagged 6 wickets each for India.

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are amongst the highest run getter for Sri Lanka against Team India over the years.
(Photo: Sportskeeda)

Batting records:

Top run-scorers for India against Sri Lanka:

Top run-scorers for Sri Lanka against India:

Highest partnerships for India against Sri Lanka:

Highest partnerships for Sri Lanka against India:

Most centuries for India against Sri Lanka in ODIs:

Most centuries for Sri Lanka against India in ODIs:

Bowling records:

Top wicket takers for India against Sri Lanka:

Top wicket takers for Sri Lanka against India:

Best bowling figures for India against Sri Lanka:

Best bowling figures for Sri Lanka against India:

Wicketkeeping Records:

Most wicket keeping dismissals for India against Sri Lanka:

*Diss = Total Dismissals

Most wicket keeping dismissals for Sri Lanka against India:

*Diss = Total Dismissals

India and Sri Lanka will lock horns in a three match ODI series beginning July 13 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. This will be followed by three T20Is at the same venue from July 21.

1 Comment

Jul 14, 2021

this is a great Article. Lots of awesome content which you can put in context. Great job Shashwat!

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