Aravinda’s unique record


By Rex Clementine

We all know that 1996 was a landmark year for Sri Lankan cricket as the national cricket team went onto become World Champions. But the next two years – 1997 and 1998 were equally remarkable as Sri Lanka became a force to be reckoned with in world cricket thanks to some consistent performances.

In 1997, Aravinda achieved a unique record. In the SSC Test match against Pakistan he scored twin hundreds 138 not out and 103 not out and remains the only batsman in the history of Test cricket to have scored unbeaten hundreds in both innings. So far in Test cricket, 86 batsmen have scored hundreds in both innings and Aravinda is the only batsman to have remained unbeaten in both essays.

Year 1997, in particular marked the best of Aravinda de Silva. Of his 20 Test hundreds, seven were scored that year. He in fact equaled a World Record then joining Sir Viv Richards, who had also scored seven hundreds in 1976.

Post World Cup triumph there were opportunities opening up for Sri Lanka. Usually they would play four to five Test matches a year, but in 1997 Sri Lanka ended up playing as many as 11 Tests which included tours to New Zealand, West Indies and India.

Aravinda finished that year with 1220 runs in Test cricket and averaged 76. Only team mate Sanath Jayasuriya scored more runs that year having finished with 1271 runs.

Sri Lanka were riding on the back of these two players’ glorious form. Both of them crossed the 1000 run mark in ODIs as well that year with Aravinda posting 1212 in 28 games and Jayasuriya scoring 1178 in 26 matches. Only Sourav Ganguly (1338) had scored more runs that year but had played 38 games, ten more than Aravinda.

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