Murali
World Test Championship

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka: Can the Tigers turn around a one-sided rivalry?

WTC23

By Tom Bennett

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Sri Lanka’s Test record against Bangladesh is one of near-complete dominance, but could that be about to change in the World Test Championship?

The WTC continues on May 23 with Bangladesh targeting a first-ever series win over Sri Lanka.

The Tigers go into the second Test with the series level after a well-earned draw in Chattogram, and could make history in Mirpur with a win that would also see them pull away from England at the foot of the WTC Standings.

There are signs that the tide could be turning, but since Sri Lanka and Bangladesh first met in the longest format in 2001 it has been one-way traffic, with Sri Lanka winning 17 and losing just one of their 23 total meetings.

We take a look at some of the historical talking points from Sri Lanka’s two decades of dominance.

THE MAGIC OF MURALI SET THE TONE

Video cwc19 17 May 21
ICC Hall Of Fame: Muttiah Muralitharan | 'Freakishly brilliant'

Muttiah Muralitharan’s record against the Tigers was remarkable.

In 11 matches he took 11 five-wicket hauls, picking up ten wickets in a match on four separate occasions.

Murali took a hatful of wickets against every single opposition, averaging less than 26 against all-but India and Australia. But his lowest average against a single opponent came against Bangladesh, with his 89 wickets coming at just 13.37.

SANGAKKARA'S SUBLIME RECORD

One batter dominates the run-scoring charts between these nations, with Kumar Sangakkara head and shoulders clear of the next best on the all-time list.

The Sri Lankan legend’s dominance against Bangladesh was extraordinary. In 21 innings he scored 1816 runs, with Mahela Jayawardene’s 1146 the next highest by any batter on either side.

Video cwc19 13 Jun 21
ICC Hall of Fame 2021 | Kumar Sangakkara

Sangakkara’s runs came at an eye-watering average of 95.57, and at a decent lick too, scored at a strike-rate just a touch under 60.

A batter has notched up a double-ton eight times in fixtures between these two nations, and three of those innings were by the brilliant left-hander.

And he also holds the record for the highest individual score in Tests between the two, with his 319 in Chattogram in 2014 being the biggest knock of his career.

IS THE TIDE TURNING?

Sri Lanka possessed a perfect record against Bangladesh across the first 12 Test meetings between the two nations, winning every single encounter between September 2001 and March 2013.

But Bangladesh, whose win over New Zealand at the start of 2022 sees them above England in the WTC Standings, have gradually improved their Sri Lanka stats.

The head-to-head record since 2013 is still firmly in Sri Lanka’s favour, but in that time they have won just five of the 11 total meetings, with Bangladesh securing their first win in 2017 and also drawing five times – including last week’s first Test.

It’s not enough to make Mominul Haque’s side clear favourites to win the series decider, but progress is being made and a series win will come eventually. Why not now?

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Standings

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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