Srilanka on Pakistani Soil , a look into the Past

(by Ayaz Munir)

It all starts from where it ended. It was 3rd of March 2019 when the onfortunate terrorist attack took place on the Srilankan Cricket team in Lahore which was met with responses of high level of fear from the whole cricket world as every team showed absolute denial for playing in Pakistan. However after continous struggle for years , some players and teams played little cricket in Pakistan mostly consisting of the T20 Format. The original version of cricket that is the Test Cricket lost it all in Pakistan as the Pakistani cricket fans waited for over ten and half years to see a test match taking place on their home soil. Finally that moment is coming and that too including the same team which met the unfortunate attack in 2009 that is the Srilankan cricket team as they are set to play their first test against Pakistan on December 11th 2019 at Rawalpindi.

As Srilanka makes it way back to Pakistan , lets analyse how the team has performed in the Past here. Having played a total of 21 test matches , Srilanka has been able to win 6 of those having only a winning percentage of of 28.57% in tests in Pakistan. On the other hand Srilanka has lost more tests that is 8 of them resulting in a loss percentage of 38.09 surely highlighting that the team has struggled at some point in Pakistan. Despite the losses, it is worth noting that the team has also drawn 7 tests showing it has the ability to maintain balance when facing Pakistn at its home.

The Srilankan legend Sanath Jayasuria is the second highest non Pakistani run scorer in tests in Pakistan having scored 894 runs, including his highest 253 runs, in 9 tests with a remarkable average of 59.6. The Srilankan duo of Mahela Jayawardena and Thilan Samaraweera also hold the record for the second highest partnership scored in Pakistan with 437 runs scored in a test match in Karachi in 2009, this is also the highest 4th wicket partnership ever scored in Pakistan in test cricket. Surprisingly this was also the last complete test match played in Pakistan. The same match also included the amazing 313 runs in a single innings by Younus Khan which is his highest score ever in Test Cricket. Coincidentally , this match also featured the highest score ever by Pakistan in a single innigns with 765/6. Indeed this was one of the most significant cricket matches ever played in Pakistan , however with the second test marking the commencement of the darkest phase in its cricket history.

In the bowling department, the Srilankan Medium Pacer Ravi Ratnayeke is also credited with one of the best bowling figures ever on Pakistan soil where he took 8 wickets for 83 runs in Sialkot in 1985 which is the 4th best bowling figures ever in Pakistan in tests, these are also the best figures by a non Pakistani bowler in tests in Pakistan. The Srilankan Legend Muttiah Muralitharan holds the record for most wickets for a non Pakistani in tests in Pakistan with 50 wickets in mere 9 tests matches, including one ten wicket haul.

Having first played a bilateral test series in Pakistan in 1981, Sri lanka to date has played seven bilateral test series in Pakistan however the last time Pakistan had won a bilateral test series against Srilanka in Pakistan was almost twenty eight years ago in 1991/92.

These historic stats speak a lot about Srilanka's decent performance in tests in Pakistan mainly due to the contribution by great players such as Jayasuria , Jayawardena, Vaas and Muralitharan. The current Srilankan Squad , led by Dimuth Karunaratne, will not have the same strength as those players but surely with a good track record in Pakistan for 28 years and having won the T20 Series lately 3-0, Srilanka would use such stats greatly towards their psychological advantage against a struggling Pakistani side. With all this in mind , let us wish Pakistani Cricket Lovers a warm heartening congratulations for the return of test cricket after a decade and hope for a wonderful bilateral series.

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