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Men in Blue vs Lankan Lions: The nitty-gritties of under-appreciated Asia Cup rivalry

India vs Sri Lanka: The nitty-gritties of under-appreciated Asia Cup rivalry. Top batters, bowlers and head to head records between India and Sri Lanka across Asia Cup.

IND vs SL, Asia Cup: Sachin Tendulkar has scored highest runs for India agains Sri Lanka | Walking wicket (Images: ©Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar has scored highest runs for India agains Sri Lanka (Images: ©Twitter)

India and Sri Lanka are the 2 most successful teams in the history of the prestigious Asia Cup. They have 11 ODI Asia Cups among them, out of 13 held so far, with India leading the way with 6 of those from their 12 appearances.


Sri Lanka doesn’t lag much behind, with 5 triumphs so far, having played all editions of the tournament till date.


Head-to-head India vs Sri Lanka

While we hype the India-Pakistan clashes to a great extent, the audience fails to recognise the scale of rivalry in ODI cricket between India and Sri Lanka, especially more so in the Asia Cup. The 2 former Asia Cup and World Champions have faced each other in an Asia Cup ODI game on 19 different occasions starting from 1984 and Sri Lanka leads by the narrowest possible margin of 10-9.

The country wise top three performers:

Highest run-scorer for IND against SL

Player

Innings

Runs

HS

Ave

100s/50s

SR

Sachin Tendulkar

11

486

112*

48.60

1/4

84.96

Mohammad Azharuddin

8

383

90*

76.60

0/4

86.06

Navjot Singh Sindhu

7

263

84*

43.83

0/3

74.50

Sachin Tendulkar leads the way for India in the Asia Cup as the leading run-getter in the ODI format encounters. He has scored 486 runs at an average of 48.60 with a solitary century. The other 2 in the list are Mohammad Azharuddin and Navjot Singh Sidhu who have scored 383 and 263 runs, respectively, against Sri Lanka. Neither of the two have scored a century against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup, but they have hit 7 50’s between them in a total of 15 innings combined.



Highest run-scorer for SL against IND

Player

Innings

Runs

HS

Ave

100s/50s

SR

Sanath Jayasuriya

11

562

130

51.09

3/1

98.59

Kumar Sangakkara

9

394

103

43.77

1/4

85.65

Arjuna Ranathunga

9

366

131*

61.00

1/2

76.89

The trio of left-handers from Sri Lanka, namely Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Arjuna Ranatunga feature in the top-3 run-getters list for the Lankan lions. Jayasurya’s tally of 562 is the biggest amongst any players in the side and he has hit 3 centuries against India in Asia Cup, this when no other player has more than 1.


The former World Cup winning skipper of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga has scored a total of 366 runs in 9 innings against India - which includes his career best ODI score of 131. Similarly, the dashing wicketkeeper batter Sangakkara was also at his usual prolific best vs India in the Asia Cup as well, having scored 394 runs in 9 innings.


Highest individual score for IND against SL

Player

Innings

Runs

HS

SR

Sachin Tendulkar

11

486

112*

84.96

Virat Kohli

4

194

108

88.58

Gautam Gambhir

5

212

100

42.40

The Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar has the best individual score for India against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup. He made an unbeaten 112 off 107 balls in the 1995 Asia Cup at Sharjah and it helped India chase down the target of 203 with ease.


Virat Kohli had a sensational Asia Cup 2012, and this is where he scored his career-best ODI score of 183 against Pakistan. But before that, Kohli smashed a match-winning 120-ball 108 against Sri Lanka which is the 2nd best score by an Indian in Asia Cup against the Lankan Lions. Interestingly, Gautam Gambhir also scored a century (100) in the same match and added 205 runs for India’s 2nd wicket in the game as they piled up 304/3 defeating Sri Lanka by 50 runs in the process.



Highest individual score for SL against IND

Player

Innings

Runs

HS

SR

Arjuna Ranatunga

9

366

131

78.89

Sanath Jayasuriya

11

562

130

98.59

Arjuna Ranatunga holds the record for having the highest score by a Sri Lanka batter in India-Sri Lanka ODI Asia Cup encounters. He made a match-winning 131 in the 1997 Asia Cup game at Colombo, in what became a simple run-chase thanks to his exploits.


Jayasuriya comes in both 2nd and 3rd places with scores of 130 and 125 in 2004 & 2008 Asia Cup editions, respectively. While India ended up winning the contest in 2004 at Colombo, his 125 in the Asia Cup 2008 final resulted in a historic triumph for the Lankan side at Karachi.


Highest wicket-taker for IND against SL

Player

Innings

Wickets

BBI

Ave

Eco

SR

4w/5w

Irfan Pathan

6

12

4/32

24.58

5.46

27.0

1/0

Kapil Dev

4

10

4/31

14.80

4.31

20.6

1/0

Venkatesh Prasad

4

7

3/37

22.28

4.87

27.4

0/0

Irfan Pathan, who was thought of as Kapil Dev’s successor as India’s next great all-rounder, tops the list of most successful India bowlers in Asia Cup against Sri Lanka with 12 wickets in 6 games. On the other hand, India’s World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev sits in the 2nd spot with 10 wickets in 4 games against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup.


Highest wicket-taker for SL against IND

Player

Innings

Wickets

BBI

Ave

Eco

SR

4w/5w

Chaminda Vaas

8

11

2/32

30.90

5.15

36.0

0/0

Ajantha Mendis

2

10

6/13

7.30

4.05

10.8

1/1

Sanath Jayasuriya

11

9

2/34

37.66

4.64

48.6

0/0

Though Chaminda Vaas has taken 11 wickets against India in Asia Cup encounters and stands at the top of the charts for Sri Lanka, it is Ajantha Mendis’ statistics that can blow anyone’s mind away. He has played only 2 games vs India in this tournament and has taken 10 wickets in them, including a 6-fer. His strike rate of 10.8 is simply sensational.


Third in the list is Sanath Jayasuriya who backs his incredible batting heroics with a dominating performance with the ball as well. His economy rate of 4.64 is too good for a top-order batter or even a full-time all-rounder for that matter.


Interestingly, spin legend Muralitharan with 6 wickets in 9 games comes only at the 6th spot for Sri Lanka in terms of the list of wicket-takers against India in ODI Asia Cup clashes.



Best spells for IND against SL

Player

Innings

Wickets

BBI

SR

Kapil Dev

4

10

4/31

4.31

Irfan Pathan

6

12

4/32

5.46

Ashish Nehra

2

5

4/40

4.132

All the 3 pacers in the list have taken a 4-wicket haul each against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup and all the 3 of them resulted in a win for India. Kapil Dev took 4/32 in the finals of 1991 Asia Cup at Eden Gardens, which India won by 7 wickets.


Nehra’s 4/40 came in the 2010 Asia Cup finals at Dambulla and his efforts helped the team bowl out Sri Lanka for 187, who were chasing a modest total of 269.


Best spells for SL against IND

Player

Innings

Wickets

BBI

SR

Ajantha Mendis

2

10

6/13

10.8

Farveez Maharoof

6

9

5/42

30.6

Kapila Wijegunawardne

2

6

4/49

18.0

Ajantha Mendis’ sensational 6/13 still remains the best bowling figures by a distance in Asia Cup encounters and it came in the Asia Cup 2008 final game.


Farveez Maharoof took a sensational 5-wicket haul in the Asia Cup group game in 2010 and this included a hat-trick as Sri Lanka comfortably trounced India by 7 wickets during their chase of 210. Kapila Wijegunawardene’s 4/49 along with Aravinda de Silva’s all-round show helped Sri Lanka win this Asia Cup 1988 group stage contest by 17 runs.


Asia Cup 2023 will kick off from August 30. India to face Pakistan in their first game and Sri Lanka to Bangladesh.


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