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India vs Sri Lanka: Chennai Test in 1982 Was Our Best Chance to Win in India, Says Duleep Mendis

Cricketnext | Updated: November 28, 2017, 9:02 PM IST
India vs Sri Lanka: Chennai Test in 1982 Was Our Best Chance to Win in India, Says Duleep Mendis

A file photo of Duleep Mendis. (Twitter/Swapnil Patil)

New Delhi: Sri Lanka had failed to give any fight to the Indians in the second Test at Nagpur, and lost comfortably by an innings and 239 runs. That loss meant that Sri Lanka's miserable record of no wins in India remained intact. Former Sri Lanka player Duleep Mendis thinks that the closest a Lankan team has come to beating India at home was way back in 1982, at Chennai. Incidentally, that was Sri Lanka's first Test in India.

“We were winning that game, but India managed to hold on for a draw. That’s the closest we have come to winning a Test match in India. Ashantha de Mel was superb that day. He was running in and bowling very quick. By any standards, he was a top class fast bowler,” he said speaking to Cricbuzz.

In that very match Duleep scored 105 in both innings that helped them set a target of 175 for the Indians. India had narrowly survived as they had slumped to 135/7. “Fortunately, it was a good wicket. I started off well having gone into bat with the side in trouble at 11 for 2. When I reached 30 runs, I was keen to score the half-century as it was long overdue. Once I got there, I had lot of confidence and things started clicking. I was going for the hundred and that was going to save my skin. It was my maiden Test hundred as well. Then in the second innings, we were under pressure as India had got a first innings lead of over 200 runs. Roy (Dias) was superb. We put on over 100-run stand. We had also added 150 runs in the first innings. We had quite a few good partnerships throughout our careers. It was so unfortunate that Roy missed the hundred by just three runs in the second innings. It was a pleasure to bat on that wicket. It was do or die for me and I was glad it all ended up nicely,” he added.

Sunil Gavaskar was the standing between Sri Lanka and victory. ‘The Little Master‘ scored 155 in that Test at Chepauk and made a difference. “He was a treat to watch. You can learn a lot by looking at him. How he absorbed pressure was superb. He makes it look so easy when put under pressure. All those runs he scored in West Indies against those fast bowlers during their peak was legendary. Was fortunate to see some of his brilliant knocks. He was world’s best batsman at that time,” said Mendis.
First Published: November 28, 2017, 9:00 PM IST

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