Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test series

M Shoaib Ahmed

February 28, 2000

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Pakistan toured Sri Lanka later in the same season (1985-86 season). They confirmed their clear-cut superiority over the host in the very first Test. Mudassar Nazar and Tauseef Ahmed overcame the resistance offered by eleven Sri Lankan players and two umpires. Although rain allowed only 65 minutes (12.2 overs) of play on the third day. Pakistan celebrated their first Test in Sri Lanka with an innings victory achieved with more than a day to spare on a turning pitch. Asantha de Mel became the first Sri Lankan bowler to take 50 wickets. Tauseef Ahmed returned his best innings and match analyses.

In the Colombo Test, however, Pakistan fell victim to some dubious decisions, which marred the game before it was awarded to the home side. They were not prepared to let go the chance of beating Pakistan by hook or by crook. A lot of umpiring decisions were questioned. Sri Lanka's 20th Test brought their second victory. It was achieved with the aid of three debutantes and with more than a day to spare. Kosala Kuruppurachchi (left-arm fast-medium) celebrated his first appearance with five wickets. Ranatunga (74), top-scorer of the match, became the fourth Sri Lankan batsman after Mendis, R.L. Dias and Sidath Wettimuny to score 1,000 runs. The match was marred by further incidents involving Pakistani fielders incensed by various umpiring decisions. The third and final Test was drawn and the series remained locked 1-1. An unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 240 between two left-handers, Gurusinha and Ranatunga, enabled Sri Lanka to draw this final Test and the series after Mendis had won his fourth successive toss. Both batsmen recorded their highest scores and became the eighth pair to bat throughout an uninterrupted day of Test cricket. Gurusinha reached his maiden hundred in 437 minutes and continued for a further 58 minutes. Ranatunga's second Test hundred included four sixes thanks to Saleem five dropped catches behind the wicket before he had scored 30. Earlier a maiden century by Rameez (122 in 388 minutes off 242 balls with 17 4s) had earned Pakistan a first innings lead of 37. Rain and bad light reduced play to 140 minutes on the fourth day.Four years later, Imran Khan was the captain in 1991-92 series against Sri Lanka. The Lankan skipper was Aravinda de Silva. On the whole, the three Test rubber between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was a low scoring affair.

In Sialkot almost six hours' play was lost due to poor light and bad weather. Even Pakistan could have won the Test but for a tenacious fightback from left-handers, Sanath Jayasuria and wicketkeeper Hashan Tillkeratne. Twice in the match, both were involved in crucial partnership to keep alive Sri Lanka hopes. Fading early winter light in this northern city, which curtailed the match by 285 minutes, 175 of them on the final day, prevented Pakistan from winning after gaining a first innings lead of 153, Waqar recorded his sixth five-wicket haul in 12 Tests. Saleem Malik (298 minutes, 21 balls) scored his ninth hundred in 91 innings. Imran's 93* was the highest innings ended by a declaration, in this instance his own decision.

© Dawn

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