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Cricket news - World Cup Head to head: India vs Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka have beaten India four times in world cups, while India have won three encounters

June 16, 1979: Associates SL shock India in 1979 dead rubber

On a cloudy Manchester day, India took on their neighbours, Sri Lanka, in a contest that was slated to be a one-sided encounter - a clash between a non-Test-playing nation and a team that had troubled even the mighty West Indies on their day. India won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat. Captain Warnapura opened the batting with a patient 51-ball 18 to see off the new ball. Sunil Wettimuny, Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis then scored fluent half-centuries to form the core of Sri Lanka's batting and did the bulk of the scoring to get their side to a total well in excess of 200, finishing on a competitive 238/5 in 60 overs. India's chase started off fluently, with Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad joining hands for a 60-run opening stand. However, after the wickets of the openers, and despite being in a commanding position of 119-2, India lost the way after Gundappa Vishwanath's wicket, as the de Silvas and Tony Opatha triggered a collapse of 8 for 72, and India slid to a shock defeat against Sri Lanka by a relatively big margin of 47 runs and leaving them winless in the 1979 World Cup.

February 28, 1992: Math and helicopters for just two balls

Sri Lanka won the toss, opted to bowl at Mackay, Kris Srikkanth faced two balls for a single run before rain played spoilsport. A helicopter was used to dry up the pitch, only for it to start pouring down again. The game was even reduced to a 20-over-a-side affair, but none of it made any difference - only two balls could be bowled before the captains shook hands to accept that it was going to be the dampest of squibs and that they had to move on to the next game.

March 2, 1996: Jayasuriya's violence trumps Tendulkar's grace

It was an occasion for future retrospection - the eventual champions of the world, Sri Lanka, only 15 years old as a Test-playing nation, taking on India in their national capital. On a slow Kotla surface, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first. Manoj Prabhakar played a curious opening knock of 7 off 36, but Sachin Tendulkar, his fellow opener, made up for it with a run-a-ball 137, stitching together a stabilising half-century stand with Sanjay Manjrekar, before a mammoth 175-run stand with skipper Mohammad Azharuddin (72*). India ended up posting an excellent 271/3 on the board for Sri Lanka to chase. However, Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana had other plans - the former lashing out with a 76-ball 79 and the latter starting off with a 16-ball 26. After the pyrotechnics of the openers, India got Gurusinha and Aravinda de Silva in quick succession. However, Hashan Tillakaratne and Arjuna Ranatunga put together a 131-run partnership to rescue Sri Lanka from 141/4 and safely take them to a 6-wicket win with 8 balls to spare - another step on their way to World Cup glory. However, there would be a more memorable encounter against India in less than two weeks' time, and for the wrong reasons.

March 13, 1996 (Semi-final): Panic, fire and tears at the Eden

It was an Indian team in a knockout in Kolkata. Sri Lanka, despite the form of Kaluwitharana and Jayasuriya, was supposed to be a cakewalk. It was believed to be India's destiny by the entire country - until a handful of hooligans brought the dream crashing down. India won the toss and elected to field first on a spicy wicket in Kolkata, and got off to a fantastic start, with Javagal Srinath snaffling out the dangerous duo of Kaluwitharana and Jayasuriya for 0 and 1 respectively. A counter-attacking 66 (of 47 balls) by Aravinda de Silva brought Sri Lanka back into the game, before Roshan Mahanama and Arjuna Ranatunga put together 82 runs for the fifth wicket. Some useful lower order partnerships ensured a competitive total of 251/8, as Srinath picked up three wickets, and Tendulkar, the man who could do no wrong, picked up two (including the wicket of Ranatunga). India's chase got off to a reasonably good start, despite the early wicket of Sidhu, as Tendulkar and Manjarekar showed a good blend of attacking and conservative cricket.

All was well until, with the score at 98/1, Tendulkar was stumped down the leg-side to Jayasuriya. The dressing room, the Kolkata crowd, and all of India watched in horror as India's batting line-up imploded, losing 7 wickets for 22 runs. How? How could India not be destined for the Cup, particularly after the spectacular win in the quarter-final against - wait for it - Pakistan? The Eden Gardens, Kolkata crowd had a meltdown that would eternally scar their heritage - bottles were thrown by the self-proclaimed fans, who turned rogue as India stared at defeat, and furthermore, the seats were set on fire, causing one of the ugliest scenes in cricketing history. Clive Llyod, the match referee, was forced to award the match to Sri Lanka as they progressed to the final of the World Cup, which they would eventually win. The footage of Vinod Kambli weeping and running off the field in the face of the stigma of being kicked out of the home World Cup without allowing the match to reach its logical conclusion, in addition to the imminent vilification the team would face in the days to come, has become the face of one of the darkest days in Indian cricket history - one that continues to haunt the current generation of fans in the form of fences protecting the players from the crowd.

May 26, 1999: The Prince avenges a Kolkata nightmare

India and Sri Lanka, after all the bitterness three years earlier, were set to face off once again, more than 5000 miles from Kolkata, in Taunton. On a cloudy morning, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first to take advantage of the new Dukes ball - a rather popular decision in the 1999 edition of the tournament. Sri Lanka were upbeat after Chaminda Vaas went through Sadagoppan Ramesh's defence to get them the early breakthrough. However, what followed was an exhibition of carnage from two titans of Indian cricket. Sourav Ganguly (183) and Rahul Dravid (145, and the eventual highest run-getter) put on 318 runs in 45 overs - the highest ODI partnership ever, at the time, clubbing 34 fours and 8 sixes in an exhibition of extraordinary strokeplay. With Ganguly being dismissed off the penultimate ball of the innings (having compiled the highest individual score against a full member in a World Cup match), India posted a mammoth 373/6 on the board. The deadly duo of Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana departed early, courtesy an LBW and a run-out by Javagal Srinath. A few partnerships in the middle-order meant that Sri Lanka motored along, but only de Silva went on to make a fifty. The lack of a big hundred and a strike-rate that was simply not up to the mark, ensured that Sri Lanka fell short by 157 runs. Robin Singh cleaned up the lower and middle-order to clinch a five-wicket haul, but it was Sourav Ganguly's show-stealing 183 that merited the Man of the Match award as the prince of Kolkata subjected the Sri Lankans to some poetic justice in Taunton.

March 10, 2003: India thump Sri Lanka in a one-sided encounter

India and Sri Lanka, with a bitter World Cup history behind them, faced off in a Super Six encounter in Johannesburg where Sri Lanka won the toss and promptly decided to bowl first to extract early seam movement off the wicket. The fearsome opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar got India off to a flier, as they scored half-centuries on their way to a 153-run partnership in 26 overs. Sehwag was the first to be dismissed, for 66, only to be replaced by Sourav Ganguly, who scored a belligerent 48 along with the Little Master. Tendulkar, who later admitted that he was battling a bout of food poisoning and had tissues down his pants, scored a fantastic 97, missing out on a hundred for the umpteenth time in the tournament. The lower order struggled to accelerate as the pitch slowed down, and India ended up with a very competitive 292/6 after 50 overs. Javagal Srinath, the eventual Man of the Match ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, bit the head off the Sri Lankan batting order, dismissing the openers, Jehan Mubarak, and de Silva in quick succession. Sri Lanka found themselves at 2-1, 2-2, 3-3 and then 15-4, and despite some resistance by Sangakkara (30) and the final batting pair, India won by a massive margin of 183 runs and motored into the knockouts.

March 23, 2007: SL bring India's nightmare campaign to premature end

The runners-up in the 2003 edition of the World Cup were having a torrid time off it in the 2007 edition. To start with, India had lost to Bangladesh in their opening encounter in Port of Spain. Therefore, despite beating Bermuda convincingly by a (then) record margin of 257 runs, India needed a win against Sri Lanka to qualify for the group stages, particularly due to Sri Lanka's high NRR given their heavy margins of victory against Bangladesh and Bermuda. After winning the toss and fielding first, India picked up the dangerous Jayasuriya and Jayawardene early, swiftly followed by Sangakkara, while Tharanga held the fort at the other end. Sri Lanka were in a bit of trouble at 133/4, but Chamara Silva and Dilshan put on 83 for the fifth wicket to push the score past 200. Cameos by Chaminda Vaas and Russell Arnold dragged the score to 254/6 - which was just about a par score against a strong but out-of-form Indian batting line-up. India, however, had their top-order dismantled by Dilhara Fernando and Chaminda Vaas, as they slid to 44/3 - with two ODI giants, Tendulkar and Ganguly, back in the hut. Sehwag departed soon after putting on a half-century stand with Dravid, but the rest of the batting line-up fell apart like a pack of cards around Dravid, who finally succumbed for 60. Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh delayed the inevitable with a 24-run partnership, but India's innings and their World Cup campaign came to an end with a gut-wrenching 69-run loss in the league stages as they bowed out of the Caribbean in tears.

April 2, 2011: The night Dhoni enchanted the Wankhede

Fifteen years and ten days after India lived through their worst nightmare in Kolkata, they met the same opposition in the final of another home World Cup, this time, amidst a deafening (but better-behaved) crowd at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. With a raucous crowd at the stadium, the toss had to be done twice due to the confusion over the call, and eventually, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Zaheer Khan started off his spell with three maidens, in stark contrast to the spell in his previous appearance in a World Cup final, and picked up the wicket of Upul Tharanga early. After an uncharacteristically sluggish innings, Dilshan was knocked over by Harbhajan Singh. The usual suspects, Jayawardene and Sangakkara put together a fluent partnership of 62, before the latter nicked a rank half-tracker behind to depart two short of his fifty. Jayawardene carried on after reaching his half-century, stitching together small partnerships and making up for the slow run-rate earlier in the innings. Aided by an inspired cameo by Kulasekara and a sedate knock from Samaraweera, Jayawardene caressed his way to an effortless World Cup hundred, perhaps putting more power into his air-punch that he did into any of his shots. Thisara Perera then applied the finishing touches by clubbing a 9-ball 22 to post a daunting 274 on the board.

The Indian chase began on a negative note, as Virender Sehwag, the quintessential crowd-entertainer, departed in the very first over for a duck. Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar then stabilized things and were just getting started when Malinga tempted Sachin into a drive and got him to nick one to Sangakkara. The Wankhede was rendered silent, as India's favourite child was sent packing for 18. Virat Kohli, the next batsman, described the feeling of walking into the stadium as one similar to walking into a graveyard. Gambhir and Kohli then put together 83 runs, in a crucial stand before Kohli departed for 35. It was then that Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in at No. 5, ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh - a strategic move against a Sri Lankan side with two off-spinners that has gone down in cricketing folklore as a masterstroke. After starting off slowly, Gambhir and Dhoni started to accelerate in a fluent century stand as the Indian dream looked set to be fulfilled. However, Gautam Gambhir went for the glory shot and was knocked over, falling three runs short of a well-deserved hundred. Yuvraj joined Dhoni at the crease with 52 to get, and knocked over the remaining runs with minimal fuss, thrashing a towering six over long-on to seal the victory, sending the Wankhede, and by extension, the entire country into delirium and bringing the World Cup back to India for the first time in 28 years.

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