Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama bowled his way into the record books with an incredible display on Test debut against Bangladesh at Pallekele. The 22-year-old returned figures of 11/178 – the first instance of a Sri Lankan taking ten wickets on debut. Likewise, his 6/92 in the first innings also created a new national record. On that note, here is a look at the five best innings hauls on Test debut for Sri Lanka.
6/92 by Praveen Jayawickrama v Bangladesh, Pallekele, 2020-21
Following a high-scoring draw in the first Test, Sri Lanka came up trumps by 209 runs to secure the series. Central to their win was the performance of Jayawickrama, who was instrumental in sending Bangladesh from 214/3 to 251 all out in response to Sri Lanka’s 493/7. He was not done yet, and went on to take 5/86 as Bangladesh faced a target of 447, becoming only the tenth bowler to bag two fifers on Test debut.
6/179 by Upul Chandana v Pakistan, Dhaka, 1998-99
Pakistan trounced Sri Lanka by an innings and 175 runs in the final of the inaugural Asian Test Championship at the Bangabandhu Stadium, with debutant Chandana’s bowling being the silver lining. Replying to a modest 231, Pakistan piled up 594 (they were 483/2) thanks to Ijaz Ahmed (211) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (200*). The 26-year-old Chandana impressed with his leg-spin, toiling for 47.5 overs without much support.
5/24 by Akila Dananjaya v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2017-18
A tricky pitch greeted the teams in this deciding second Test at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Despite being bowled out for 222, Sri Lanka gained a handy lead of 112. Off-spinner Dananjaya, who had made his limited-overs debut as a 19-year-old more than five years earlier, took 3/20. He bettered these figures in the second innings, snaring 5/24 in just five overs, as Bangladesh hurtled to defeat by 215 runs.
5/44 by Kosala Kuruppuarachchi v Pakistan, Colombo (CCC), 1985-86
The first Test had seen Pakistan win by an innings, with Sri Lanka rolled over for 109 and 101. In this scenario, the hosts commendably registered their first Test win over Pakistan and their second overall. Kuruppuarachchi, a 22-year-old left-arm pacer who was one of three Sri Lankan debutants, set the tone by removing Mudassar Nazar off his third ball. Pakistan were bundled out for 132, and went on to lose by eight wickets.
5/66 by Lasith Embuldeniya v South Africa, Durban, 2018-19
This Test will remain special for Kusal Perera’s 153*, one of the greatest innings ever seen, that spurred Sri Lanka to a stunning one-wicket win. Earlier, Embuldeniya played his part by taking 5/66 from 26 overs in the second innings. Having taken just one wicket at five runs an over in the first innings, the 22-year-old left-arm spinner struck at crucial junctures to help limit South Africa to 259 and Sri Lanka’s target to 304.