Sri Lanka vs India: 5 best spells in ODI games

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It is not without reason that Muttiah Muralitharan is considered one of the greatest bowlers of all time
Chaitanya Halgekar

Neighbouring nations India and Sri Lanka are known for their batting prowess and whenever both teams have locked horns against each other, runs have come in plenty.

Over the years, both teams have also produced several world-class bowlers who have delivered memorable performances. These bowling stalwarts gave the batsmen a tough time with their skills and on several occasions stole the limelight.

We relive some of the fascinating bowling spells that were produced in an India vs Sri Lanka encounter in ODIs.

#5 Manoj Prabhakar cutting through Sri Lanka's top order in 1994

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In 1994, on a dry Hyderabad pitch, Mohammad Azharuddin won the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat first. The visitors knew batting on such track would be a difficult task but they had no idea of Manoj Prabhakar's red-hot form.

The Indian pacer first forced Aruna Gunawardena to edge one to the wicket-keeper and then sent back Hashan Tillakaratne for a duck. Prabhakar exploited the conditions effectively and seamed the new ball in dangerous ways.

Such was the menace of Prabhakar that Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka's premier batsman, lasted for only two deliveries. Roshan Mahanama too perished soon and in no time the visitors were reduced to four down for 31.

The skipper Arjuna Ranatunga tried to arrest the damage by counter-attacking. However, he found little help from the other end and Sri Lanka managed to get only 226 runs in their 50 overs.

After claiming four wickets in his first spell, Prabhakar returned to send back the dangerous Ranatunga when he was playing on 98. The pace bowler finished the game with a five-wicket haul.

In reply, India aced the chase with ease courtesy of fifties from Vinod Kambli and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

#4 Chaminda Vaas annihilates India in 2000

Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka appeals

The ODI that is best remembered for Sanath Jayasuriya's master class innings of 189 also witnessed one of the finest displays of pace bowling.

In the final of the Champions Trophy at Sharjah in 2000, Jayasuriya destroyed India with his sensational batting. The left-hand batsman tore apart Indian bowlers by slamming 189 runs off just 161 balls and set India a target of 300 runs.

Indian batsmen, who were shell-shocked by Jayasuriya's carnage, were once again tormented by Chaminda Vaas. The pace bowler first sent back India's captain Sourav Ganguly in the third over and in the next over, accounted for Sachin Tendulkar as well.

Yuuraj Singh and Vinod Kambli followed suit and soon India were tottering at four down for 19 runs. Vaas was called back in the middle overs and he responded effectively by finding Zaheer Khan's edge. The Sri Lankan pacer claimed five wickets to annihilate India who were all-out for mere 54 runs, their lowest-ever ODI total.

#3 Javagal Srinath humbles Sri Lanka in 1993

India's Javagal Srinath, right, appeals the lbw wi
Srinath was unstoppable against Sri Lanka in 1993

In 1993, the Cricket Association of Bengal hosted a multi-nation cricket tournament known as the 'Hero Cup' to commemorate the diamond jubilee. And the tournament was made memorable by India's ace pacer Javagal Srinath.

Srinath, one of the fastest bowlers ever produced by India, was known for his probing lines and immaculate consistency. He brought the best of his skills to the table to trouble Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the Hero Cup at Kanpur.

In his opening spell, he got the better of Asanka Gurusinha and Jayasuriya and left Sri Lanka two down at the score of 53. However, Sri Lanka's middle order rejuvenated the innings and set the foundation for a strong finish.

And then Srinath came back to spoil Sri Lanka's party. The seamer used the old ball efficiently and wrecked the lower order to limit Sri Lanka's score to 203. He dismissed three of the last four Sri Lankan batsmen and picked up a well-deserved five-wicket haul.

India's batsmen found no difficulties in chasing the paltry target and India won the game by seven wickets.

#2 Ajantha Mendis' mystery sinks India in 2008

Sri Lanka v West Indies - ICC World Twenty20 2012 Final
Mendis' 'carrom ball' was too hot to handle for India

In the Asia cup of 2008, Sri Lanka unveiled their new bowling weapon -- Ajantha Mendis -- who spun the ball in both directions. His 'carrom ball' was almost impossible to pick and it created havoc in the tournament.

Sri Lanka smartly hid Mendis from India in the league stages and introduced the mystery spinner to Indians in the finals when they were chasing 274 runs.

Virender Sehwag blasted 60 runs off just 36 balls to provide a flying start but he was stumped on the very second ball he faced from Mendis. One ball later, Mendis had crashed on Yuvraj's stumps and in his third over, scattered Raina's stumps as well.

In the next over, Rohit Sharm was adjudged leg-before and India was down to four for 93 from being at one wicket for 76 at one stage. The Sri Lankan spinner came back for his second spell and sent back Irfan Pathan and RP Singh on consecutive deliveries to bring the curtains down.

Mendis' mystery earned him six wickets and India were all out for 173 runs.

#1 Muttiah Muralitharan produces his best

Sri Lanka v India - Commonwealth Bank Series
Muralitharan delivered his best performance against India in 2000

The world's greatest off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan exhibited his bowling class and demolished India in the Champions Trophy at Sharjah in 2000.

Sri Lanka posted 294 runs on the board but a fluent counter-attack by Tendulkar and Robin Singh provided India a firm foundation. Muralitharan rescued Sri Lankan by getting rid of Robin Singh in the 18th over and then sent back the dangerous Tendulkar.

The off-spinner then unplugged India's middle order and ended the match with seven wickets.On a pitch that turned and assisted the spinners, Murali delivered his best performance and routed India for 226 runs.

There was no stopping Murali in the middle overs as he picked wickets at regular intervals and dented India's chase. His control over his variations was impeccable and he troubled the batsmen by offering negligible width.

In this ODI, the master was at his best and the spectators at the stadium witnessed one of the finest spells of spin bowling ever.

Edited by Anuradha Santhanam
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