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10 Indian innings in Sri Lanka to remember!

August 04, 2015 10:01 IST

Ahead of the three-Test series, Harish Kotian/Rediff.com lists 10 most memorable Indian Test knocks on the island next door.

It's more than 20 years since India has won a Test series in Sri Lanka.

Mohammad Azharuddin remains the only Indian captain to win a series on the island when his team won a three-Test series in 1993, 1-0.

India came close in 2001 and 2008, winning the second Test, but eventually lost 1-2 in both series.

In 2010, the Indians staged a comeback to level the series 1-1 after V V S Laxman's magnificent match-winning century in the third Test.

Rahul Dravid has pointed out Virender Sehwag's breathtaking double century at Galle in 2008 as the template Virat Kohli's team should follow on this tour.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly's centuries in 1997 and Vinod Kambli and Navjot Singh Sidhu's magical batting in 1993 remain other batting highlights from India's tours next door.

Harish Kotian/Rediff.com lists the 10 most memorable Indian knocks in Sri Lanka.

Viru's 201, Galle, July 2008

Virender Sehwag

IMAGE: Virender Sehwag celebrates his century against Sri Lanka during the second Test in Galle, July 2008. Photograph: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi/Reuters

There is a reason why Rahul Dravid calls it 'the best innings' Virender Sehwag -- the only Indian to score a triple century (two triples! by the way) has played in Test cricket.

Sehwag single-handedly steered India to victory in the second Test at Galle in 2008, rattling up 201 from just 231 balls.

The best part about this knock was the way Viru took on Sri Lanka's mystery spinner, Ajantha Mendis, who had run through the Indian side, taking six wickets. Eight of the Indian batsmen did not trouble the scoreboard, failing to cross double figures.

After a nervy start, Viru was unstoppable and just short of scoring a hundred in the first session.

Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan came in for some special treatment from Sehwag's blade.

No other batsman scored a century in the match where the spinners claimed 24 of the 40 wickets to fall.

Sehwag's double ton helped India cross the 300-run mark, 329 in the first innings, which proved vital in their 170-run victory to level the series 1-1.

Sehwag's 109, Galle, July 2010

Viru again shone in Galle, scoring another crackling century.

Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a huge 520 for eight declared. India managed about half that score.

The dashing opener saved the tourists the blushes, hammering 109 from 118 balls, including nine fours and a six, as India posted 276, conceded a huge lead and were forced to follow on.

India lost the Test by 10 wickets.

Dada's 98 not out, Kandy, August 2001

IMAGE: Sourav Ganguly, left, and Rahul Dravid celebrate after India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the second Test in Kandy, August, 2001. Photograph: Reuters

India were set a tricky target of 264 on a pitch where 250 runs seemed hard to get.

They lost an early wicket before Rahul Dravid steadied the ship with a solid 75.

Then Sourav Ganguly played an innings that mattered. Missing Sachin Tendulkar because of injury, Ganguly, who batted at No 4, scored 98 not out, hitting 15 fours in his 152-ball knock.

India registered a convincing seven-wicket victory on the fourth day.

Sachin's 203, SSC, Colombo, July 2010

Sachin Tendulkar

IMAGE: Sachin Tendulkar acknowledges the cheers after scoring a double century in the second Test in Colombo, July 2010. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters

Sachin Tendulkar hit a sparkling double hundred as India made a solid 707 in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 642 for four declared.

Sachin, who was dropped on 29 by wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, made Sri Lanka pay dearly for that lapse.

Earlier, Sehwag had smashed a quickfire 99 and Suresh Raina hit a century on debut.

The wicket had nothing for the bowlers as the game finished in a high-scoring draw.

VVS' 103, RPS, Colombo, August 2010

V V S Laxman

IMAGE: V V S Laxman hits a boundary during the third Test in Colombo, August 2010. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters

A back injury didn't prevent V V S Laxman from playing one of his best Test innings.

After Sehwag's century (109) helped India provide a fitting reply (436) to Sri Lanka's 425 in the first innings, the Indians faced a tricky run chase of 257 on the fifth day.

Off-spinner Suraj Randiv opened the bowling and took four quick wickets before Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar (54) scripted India's comeback.

After Tendulkar departed, Laxman, battling back spasms, and Raina (41 not out) guided the team to a series-levelling five-wicket victory in the final Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.

Laxman's wristy flicks were pure joy to watch. He shifted gears efficiently, hitting 12 fours in his 149-ball knock to follow up on his fifty in the first innings.

'He proved today why he is called very, very special,' captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the match.

Dada's 147, SSC, Colombo, August 1997

After Sachin Tendulkar departed, scoring 139 from 266 balls, including 16 fours, Sri Lanka's hopes of restricting India's first innings total soared, but Sourav Ganguly thwarted them with a fine hundred.

After adding 150 runs for the fifth wicket with Tendulkar, the left-hander shepherded the tail-enders well as the last five wickets added 99 more runs.

Ganguly scored 147 from 312 balls, hitting 19 fours and two sixes. With only the lower order for company, he went on the attack.

Azhar's 108 not out, SSC, Colombo, August 1997

Mohammad Azharuddin

IMAGE: Mohammad Azharuddin hits a boundary during the second Test in Colombo, August 1997. Photograph: Reuters

Though six batsmen scored centuries in the match, run-making was not as easy as it seemed, particularly on the fifth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.

Sri Lanka set India a stiff target of 373 runs in 103 overs to win the game, which meant the visitors had to bat out nearly four sessions.

Opener Ajay Jadeja hit a half-century, but quick wickets saw India reduced to 138 for four before Mohammad Azharuddin came to the rescue.

Azhar brought all his experience into play and stayed till the end to score 108 not out as India finished on 281 for five and drew the match. The series ended 0-0.

Kambli's 125, SSC, Colombo, August 1993

When in full flow, Vinod Kambli was a treat to watch.

His innings of 125 was vital in India posting a healthy 366, which helped them secure a crucial 112 first innings lead in the second Test.

The Mumbai left-hander was in the form of his life at that point of his career as he scored his third century in four Tests, including in the wash-out in the first Test at Kandy.

Sachin's 104, SSC, Colombo, August 1993

Tendulkar consolidated India's position with an entertaining century in the second innings.

He scored 104 not out, including 11 fours and a six, to ensure India set the hosts a stiff 472 with enough time for the bowlers to bowl them out.

Sri Lanka eventually capitulated for 236 and lost by 235 runs, giving India their first win in overseas Test after seven years.

Kambli's 120, RPS, Colombo, August 1993

Vinod Kambli continued his golden run with another century in the next Test to make it four hundreds in five games.

After Sri Lanka posted 351 in the first innings, he played another superb knock, scoring 120 and in the company of his old buddy SRT (70) took the Indians to a 95-run first innings lead.

The Sri Lankans held on for a draw, but India won the three-match series 1-0.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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