For Sri Lanka, it has been like history repeating itself, returning as unlearnt mistakes. In the first Test against India at Eden Gardens the team just lost a chance to topple India. This could have created another page of accomplishment in the team’s Test history. But for the messy batting order, came up as something too much to expect. The target of 231 from a maximum of 47 overs in one a half session was quite achievable. India has been tough, but it was also Sri Lanka that slogged the team in their first inning. Sri Lanka’s first inning score took it to a dominant position. India recovered, but there was always the leeway for Sri Lanka to win the match, that too comfortably.
In 2012, against Australia, Sri Lanka scrambled to Mitchell Stark at Hobart
The Lankan Team has been through such narrow margin in previous two occasions. The first instance was in the match against England in 2011. The match was at Cardiff. Like the recent one, the first two days of the Test was washed with rain. In the final day, England batted until 3 pm leaving a score of 96 runs for Sri Lanka. The visitors had 56 overs in hand to win.
The match featured players like Tillakaratne Dilshan as the captain, in fact it was his first assignment as the skipper, apart from Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Also, on England’s side, bowler James Anderson was rested due to injury. It was as if a win presented in a golden platter. But Sri Lanka could not handle it. The team was all out within 25 overs scoring only 82. England won, and Sri Lanka lost the winning match. It was not much how England won, but it was more about how Sri Lanka lost.
The next occasion was against Australia in 2012. In the Hobart Test, Sri Lanka had the target of 293 and a whole day to bat. The batting line-up did well in the top order. It could have been a draw, at least, as captain Jayawardene wanted. The top strikers in the day were Kumar Sangakkara and Tilan Samaraweera, but the rest of the team went all haywire. In the final session, they had nearly 150 runs to score with more than half of players in hand. Instead of steering the inning to a draw, they lost six wickets without any palpable contribution. Sri Lanka lost by 137 runs to Australia.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar emerged as the kingpin of India’s attack at Eden Garden recently.
In the recent match against India. Sri Lanka’s play was going fine until Virat Kohli cross-fired. The bowlers were able to dismantle the entire Indian middle and lower order, but not Kohli. Still, the team had a strong chance to win batting in the final sessions. The only difference in this match is, Sri Lanka did not lose, the match was drawn. In the final session, India bowlers knocked five wickets. This added to the visitor’s loss of the two openers in the opening three overs. The team score 75 for 7 wickets, dying India a victory, but unable to lift it either.