After humiliating arch-rivals Pakistan in the opening game of their Champions Trophy 2017 encounter, a confident India will look to continue their form when they lock horns with Sri Lanka in their second match of the tourney at the Oval on Thursday, June 8.
After an almost perfect show with both the willow and the cherry, it remains to be seen if India contemplate any changes ahead of the second game.
As for the islanders, who lost their opening clash against South Africa, the game against India will be a die-or-die affair. However, they will be playing without the services of an injured Angelo Mathews and suspended Upal Tharanga, which largely diminishes their chances of upsetting a strong India.
Although India are the favourites going into the game, here’s a flashback of the times when Sri Lankan players owned India and snatched the game away from them cruelly.
#1 Sanath Jayasuriya’s 189 at Sharjah, 2000
Nearly 17 years ago, India and Sri Lanka locked horns in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup tri-series held in Sharjah. The two sides were led by two prolific left-handed batsmen - Sanath Jayasuriya and Sourav Ganguly.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. What followed shortly after was one of Sanath Jayasuriya’s best ODI innings. He looked in fine touch from the beginning. The early onslaught from his bat saw Zaheer Khan and Venkatesh Prasad losing line and length.
After exhibiting flamboyance against all the Indian bowlers, the Sri Lankan great fell on 189 to the ordinary bowling of Sourav Ganguly. Although his 189 came from 161 balls, it can be noted that back then, playing defensively and saving wickets was given more importance than falling prey to big hits.
What made Jayasuriya’s innings more special was that India, in response to Sri Lanka’s 299, was bundled out for a paltry 54 runs to lose the match by an unbelievable 245 runs.
#2 Ajantha Mendis’s 6-13 at Karachi, 2008
This was in Asia Cup 2008 when India were the favourites throughout the tournament before they met Sri Lanka and Mendis’s onslaught in the final. Batting first, Sri Lanka put up a total of 273, which didn’t appear daunting for a highly-rated batting line-up that India boasted of.
Virender Sehwag started the chase frenetically, beating up the Sri Lankan bowling en route his 36-ball 60. But then unfurled Mendis’s magic. Sehwag was stumped off his mystery delivery in the 10th over and India’s scoreboard read 76-2 as Gambhir had earlier departed on 6.
Only two balls after sending back Sehwag, Yuvraj was bowled. Soon Suresh Raina also had to walk back. Rohit Sharma was so clueless about Mendis’s mystery spin that he was trapped LBW. Following that, Irfan Pathan could only edge to slip. And when the batting greats had failed, how could have RP Singh played the spinner?
Singh was bowled for a duck. From 76-2 to 173 all out, India crumbled and crashed, courtesy Mendis 6 for 13 in 8 overs. Sri Lanka won by 100 runs.
#3 Rangana Herath’s 7-48 at Galle, 2015
This feat was achieved in the first Test of the 2015 series between the two countries. Sri Lanka, having trailed by 192 in the first innings, fought back to beat India by 63 runs in a Test India could have won in 3 days.
The Men in Blue were set a victory target of 176 but were all out for 112 in their second innings after lunch on the fourth day. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was simply outstanding on the day, taking 7-48 as India were dismantled within 50 overs.
Herath bowled his heart out in what can be recalled as one of the most lethal spells in Test cricket. Previously, in their second innings, the Islanders were reduced to 95-5 but Dinesh Chandimal's unbeaten 162 help lift the hosts to 367. Sri Lanka eventually went on to win by 63 runs.
#4 Farveez Maharoof’s hat-trick at Dambulla, 2010
Fast bowler Farveez Maharoof took a hattrick against India during the Asia Cup match in 2010 in Dambulla. His first victim was Ravindra Jadeja, followed by Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan. What was special about the hattrick was that it proved his willpower to bounce back into the game after fighting several injuries in 18 months before the Asia Cup.
He finished the spell with a five-wicket haul for the second time in his career and his team cruised to an emphatic win over India. Sri Lanka chased down India’s 209 in 37.3 overs, while Maharoof won Player of the match.
#5 Thisara Perera’s 5-28 at Dambulla, 2010
Thisara Perera produced a lethal spell of seam bowling to send back five batsmen as India were bundled out for a scanty 103 in a tri-series match against Sri Lanka in Dambulla in 2010. Quite naturally, the hosts overhauled the total with ease, to enter the tri-series final.
Perera, who was only 21-year-old back then, ripped through the Indian middle. Only Yuvraj Singh could offer a cameo of resistance with his gritty 38, as the others succumbed in only 33.4 overs at the Rangiri Dambulla International stadium.
He sent back Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma. Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets with 209 balls remaining, to register yet another huge victory over India.