There is nothing more exhilarating in a cricket match than to see your favourite team chasing a big total set by the team batting first. The players’ anxiety, the fans prayers, and the tension all around the stadium is what makes the game of cricket so beautiful.
There is no better feeling in this world for a team and supporters alike when they see the winning runs being hit by the batsmen out in the middle.
Taking part in a successful chase while being the visiting team makes the occasion a lot more special and the players feel a greater sense of achievement. India’s famous run chase against England at Lord’s in the Natwest Series final of 2002 will always be remembered by players and fans alike.
Sri Lanka, however, has not been a happy ground for visiting teams while batting 2nd. There have not been many instances where a high score has been chased down at Sri Lanka. Pakistan and India are the only two teams who have enjoyed reasonable success while chasing at Sri Lanka.
There have been some thrilling matches played between these 3 sides at Colombo, Pallekelle, and Hambantota.
In this article, we take a look at the Top 5 run chases by visiting teams in Sri Lanka. This list includes 1 Test match, 2 ODIs, and 2 T20Is.
#1 Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Pallekele, Jul 3-7, 2015
In this historic match, the evergreen Younis Khan led the battle as Pakistan recorded their highest ever successful run chase in Test cricket against Sri Lanka in the 3rd and final Test match of their series. This incredible victory was also the 2nd highest run chase by an Asian side and the 6th highest overall.
This win also propelled them to the 3rd place in the ICC Test rankings, as they won the series 2-1. It was also the joint-biggest margin of victory in Test match history for a team scoring 350-plus runs to win.
Having won the toss, Pakistan opted to take the field. After a brilliant century by Dimuth Karunaratne and a 5 wicket haul by leggie Yasir Shah, Sri Lanka were restricted to 278. During Pakistan’s first innings, the Sri Lankan bowlers troubled the Pakistani batsmen right from the beginning. 3 wickets each for Dhamika Prasad, Tharindu Kaushal, and Nuwan Pradeep led to Pakistan being bowled out for 215.
Sri Lanka performed better in the 2nd innings as they reached a total of 313 thanks to an amazing century by their captain Angelo Mathews. Having set Pakistan a target of 377 and picking up 2 quick wickets, Sri Lanka thought they had the victory in their bag, but Pakistan had other ideas in mind.
Shan Masood and Younis Khan led the way as they set up a historic 242 run 4th wicket partnership, with both of them scoring centuries. This amazing partnership brought Pakistan closer to victory. After Masood’s departure, out came Misbah ul Haq. Along with Younis, Misbah took the attack to the Sri Lankans and created history when he finished off the match with a six.
Result : Pakistan 215 (Sarfraz 78*, Azhar 52) and 380 for 3 (Younis 171*, Masood 125, Misbah 59*) beat Sri Lanka 278 (Karunaratne 130, Yasir 5-78) and 313 (Mathews 122, Chandimal 67, Imran 5-58) by seven wickets
#2 India tour of Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI: Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Jul 28, 2012
Led by the heroics of Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan, India defeated Sri Lanka in what is, to date, the highest run chase in an ODI by a visiting team in Sri Lanka. India, in fact, held the top 4 positions of the highest run chases in Sri Lanka until last year.
Sri Lanka had not lost their previous 28 matches when they scored over 250 runs at home coming into the game. This win, however, propelled India as they went on to win the subsequent 2 matches and comprehensively with the 5 match series 4-1.
Having opted to bat first, Sri Lanka lost 3 quick wickets, but they slowly got back on track with a 120-run partnership between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra. After their departures, Jeevan Mendis, along with Angelo Mathews guided Sri Lanka to a highly respectable total of 286.
In reply, India started off well as Gautam Gambhir danced his way to a century. The Indians were looking comfortable till the 35th over as Sri Lanka scalped 2 wickets in 2 balls in the very next over.
With Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan out in the middle, India needed 91 runs to win in just 12 overs. With no batting left after Pathan, Sri Lanka decided to rest Lasith Malinga for a few overs.
This proved costly for them as Raina and Pathan took charge and did not spare any bowler. In the end, with 6 required off the last over, India won with 2 balls to spare.
Result: India 288 for 5 (Gambhir 102, Raina 65*) beat Sri Lanka 286 for 5 (Sangakkara 73, Mathews 71*, Jayawardene 65) by 5 wickets
#3 Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Hambantota, Aug 23, 2014
This rain hit match seemed to be over as a contest 3/4ths into it, but Pakistan – led by the heroics of Fawad Alam and Sohail Maqsood turned the match on its head and staged an incredible revival which saw them through at the end. This was the 2nd highest ODI run chase by a visiting team in Sri Lanka, and the fact that the result was achieved in 45 overs made it even more special.
After the match was reduced to 45 overs per side due to rain, Misbah ul Haq decided to field first after winning the toss. Sri Lanka were looking in trouble having been 75-4 in 18 overs thanks to Mohammed Irfan and Wahab Riaz’s bowling spells.
However, the Lankans staged a spirited comeback riding on the powerful batting performances by Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, who scored 63 and 86 respectively. Thanks to an unbeaten 15-ball 39 from Ashan Priyanjan, Sri Lanka reached a total of 275 in their allotted overs.
During the 2nd innings – Apart from a bright innings by Ahmed Shahzad, all the big guns failed to impress for Pakistan. Halfway through the chase, the men ing green had lost their momentum and were on the brink of loss.
The required run rate was over 7 when Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam were at the crease and it kept creeping up with Alam struggling. After a failed run out attempt to dismiss Alam, the boundaries started coming for Pakistan, and they did not look back since then.
After a few big overs and sensible batting by the duo, Pakistan clinched a nail-biter with just one ball to spare.
Result: Pakistan 277 for 6 (Maqsood 89, Fawad 62) beat Sri Lanka 275 for 7 (Mathews 89, Jayawardene 63, Wahab 3-50) by four wickets (D/L method)
#4 Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I: Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS), Aug 1, 2015
It looks like Pakistan have made it a habit of pulling off stunning victories against Sri Lanka. In this edition, they had an unlikely hero in the form of their no. 9 batsman – Anwar Ali. He led Pakistan to a stunning victory from the clutches of almost-certain defeat.
This victory was the highest run chase by a visiting team in a T20 International match in Sri Lanka. Anwar Ali’s unbeaten 46 is also the highest score by a no. 9 batsman in this format of the game.
On winning the toss, Sri Lanka decided to bat first. Shehan Jayasuriya and Chamara Kapugedara led the way for Sri Lanka as the inexperienced team put up a respectable total of 172 in 20 overs. Shoaib Malik meanwhile was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with his 2-16 in 3 overs.
Pakistan appeared to be tumbling to a heavy loss at 40-5 until Shahid Afridi came out to bat. “Boom Boom” Afridi smashed 45 runs from 22 balls and with the help of Imad Wasim, Pakistan were back in the game.
After Afridi’s wicket, Sri Lanka thought they had the match in their grasp. 7 wickets down and 66 runs required from 35 balls, Ali produced a cataclysmic 46 from 17 balls to stun the hosts.
The match went down to the wire with Malinga picking up 2 wickets in the penultimate over, but with Imad Wasim at the striker’s end in the last over, he ensured there were no slip ups as Pakistan won a seemingly impossible chase
Result: Pakistan 174 for 9 (Anwar 46, Afridi 45) beat Sri Lanka 172 for 7 (Kapugedera 48*, Jayasuriya 40) by one wicket.
#5 India tour of Sri Lanka, Only T20I: Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Feb 10, 2009
3 years before Irfan Pathan helped India achieve an incredible run chase in an ODI in Sri Lanka, he did the same in a T20I along with his brother – Yusuf Pathan. India was staring at defeat at one point, but the Pathan brothers scripted a thrilling three-wicket win in the one-off Twenty20 game of the 2008-09 series.
Sri Lanka – who chose to bat after winning the toss, got off to a great start thanks to a quick-fire 33 by veteran Sanath Jayasuriya. Tillakaratne Dilshan who was the captain of the side at that time starred with the bat as well scoring 61 of 47 deliveries.
Despite some great bowling at the death by the Indian bowlers, Sri Lanka managed to score 172 in 20 overs.
After losing 2 quick wickets, India dominated and were going at 10 runs per over at one point, with Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina looking strong. From being at 81 for 2 after eight overs, India lost their next five wickets for 34 runs thanks to some great spin bowling by Sri Lanka.
At 115-7, India required 59 from 27 balls when Irfan joined his elder brother – Yusuf at the crease.
The pair wreaked havoc in the final stages of the match and they did not spare any bowler. This led to India winning the match with 4 balls to spare. Yusuf Pathan was declared man of the match for his good all-round performance.
Result : India 174 for 7 (Irfan 33*, Raina 35) beat Sri Lanka 171 for 4 (Dilshan 67, Jayasuriya 33) by three wickets