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The ‘Bong Connection’ with Sri Lanka’s Dambulla

Ganguly achieved the rare feat in Dambulla in 2005.

Ajinkya Rahane (R) and teammate Lokesh Rahul
Indian cricketer Ajinkya Rahane and teammate Lokesh Rahul warm up during a practice session. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka are set to host India for a 5-match ODI series after a terribly one-sided Test series. The first One Day International (ODI) will be played at Dambulla on Sunday (August 20). However, there lies a ‘Bong Connection’ that Indian cricket fans might not know as something special happened in the city.

India visited Sri Lanka for the tri-series which included West Indies as well. Regular captain Sourav Ganguly was suspended for 6 matches owing to the slow over rate during Pakistan ODI series and hence he could not play the first couple of games of the series. This was also the period when Greg Chappell was India coach and there were reports that all was not good between captain and coach.

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The ‘Bong Connection’

Ganguly returned to the side amidst all the speculations but not as captain because Rahul Dravid was appointed as skipper for the whole series. However, it could be argued that this was the starting point of the conspiracy to remove Ganguly as the skipper. The ‘Prince of Kolkata’ opened the innings with Virender Sehwag and marked his return in style.

He took a single to cover off Dilhara Fernando and completed his 10000 runs in ODI cricket. He made his return memorable as he achieved the rare feat of being only the second Indian to reach the landmark after Sachin Tendulkar.

Ganguly scored 51 off 110 runs in that innings as India, unfortunately, lost that game against Sri Lanka and his innings was heavily criticized.

Dada eventually retired from the International cricket in 2008, not before becoming a legend of the game. Post retirement, he is still serving Indian cricket in every way he can. He is currently the crucial member of Cricket Advisory Committee who recently appointed Ravi Shastri as the Indian head coach.

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