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Sri Lanka vs India, 2nd Test: Analyzing the P Sara stadium

Statistical preview of P Sara stadium.

View of the P Sara stadium

After the dismal show in the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International stadium, Team India will look to make amends in the second Test which start tomorrow at the P Sara stadium in Colombo. With a capacity of 15000 it is comparatively smaller than most stadiums in Sri Lanka; it is half surrounded by lower stands and half by grass banks. Known to assist both spinners and pacers, the Colombo Oval has been a happy hunting ground for both the home and away teams.

The P Sara stadium hosted its first match in 1982 when England toured Sri Lanka and the visitors won that tie by seven wickets. A total of 19 matches have been played at this ground, with 15 drawing out results and the other four resulted in draws. Five matches have been won by the team batting first and nine matches by the team batting second.  

Considered as a batsman’s pitch for the first few days it tends to help the bowlers during the last couple of days. The highest total of this surface is 571/9 in 2002 when Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh. Shane Warne has the best bowling figures at the P Sara stadium with figures of 94/7 during the one-off neutral Test between Australia and Pakistan. Stephen Fleming’s 274 not out against Sri Lanka in 2003 is the highest individual score at the ground.  

Here’s a look at the last five tests at this ground:

Date

Opposition

Result

Scores

Margin

MOM

Jul 12-14, 2009

Pakistan

SL Won

Pak- 90& 320

SL – 240& 171/3

7 wickets

Fawad Alam(Pak)

Nuwan Kulasekara (SL)

Aug 3- 7, 2010

India

India Won

SL- 425& 267

India- 436& 258/5

5 wickets

VVS Laxman (IND)

Apr 3-7, 2012

England

England Won

SL- 275& 278

Eng- 460& 97/2

8 wickets

Kevin Pietersen (Eng)

Nov 25-29, 2012

New Zealand

NZ Won

NZ- 412& 197/9 dec

SL- 244& 195

167 runs

Ross Taylor(NZ)

Jun 25-29, 2015

Pakistan

SL Won

Pak- 138& 329

SL- 315& 153/3

7 wickets

Dhamika Prasad(SL)


We see from the last five matches that this pitch always produces a result. It can also be noted that Sri Lanka have won only two of their last five matches on this ground and their defeats have been by a huge margin. A crushing 167 run defeat at the hands of the Black Caps in 2012 and an eight-wicket loss to England during the 2012 season. 

The P Sara stadium is also a proven batting surface with the average batting scores on this ground being 312 in the first innings and 334 in the second innings. The pitch also assists the team batting fourth with the highest chased total being, 352/9 by Sri Lanka vs South Africa.

The most successful bowler on this pitch has been the spin wizard Muthaiah Muralitharan with 52 wickets. This is also a happy hunting ground for Kumar Sangakkara, who has scored 855 runs here.

Here’s a look at the 3 Most Prolific Bowlers and Batsmen at the P Sara Oval:

Bowlers

Player

Mts

Overs

Runs

Wkts

BBI

BBM

Eco.

S.R.

M.Muralitharan

9

481.2

1238

52

97/7

225/12

2.57

55.5

R. Herath

5

223.4

589

25

103/6

170/9

2.63

53.6

D. Fernando

3

65

235

15

60/5

95/7

3.61

26.0


Batsmen

Player

Mts

Runs

HS

Ave

Balls Faced

S.R.

100’s

50’s

K. Sangakkara

11

855

200*

50.29

 1518

56.32

2

4

A.D. Silva

6

668

206

68.60

962

59.25

3

2

T. Samaraweera

6

604

178

75.50

1252

48.24

2

3


Wicket distribution between Pacers and Spinners

No.

Type of Bowler

Wickets

1

Spinners

75

2

Pacers

70


From this wicket distribution, we can see that both spinners and the pace bowlers will get purchase from the pitch, so India needs to be wary of both Herath and Kaushal who troubled them in the second innings. India should try and play an extra seamer instead of the third spinner which might help their cause. The visitors also need to strengthen their batting and not get rattled under pressure. And last but not the least, India needs to be careful about Kumar Sangakkara, as he will be playing his final match and would want to exit on a winning note.

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