At P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, August 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Drawn. Toss: Sri Lanka.
A splendidly crafted 148 by De Silva gave Sri Lanka every chance of building up a big first-innings total on a pitch which played better than its motley look suggested. It was his sixth Test hundred, but his first at home; he reached his century with a six and, in all, hit 17 fours and two sixes in six and a half hours. However, Sri Lanka left themselves vulnerable by going on to make only 351, despite a fifty from Tillekeratne. The Indian openers made another useful start, of 86, and old schoolmates Kambli and Tendulkar again batted positively with 162 in 204 minutes. The in-form Kambli cracked his fourth century - 120 in five and a quarter hours - in his last five Tests (including Kandy, where he did not get to bat) and Azharuddin made his first Test fifty in two tours of Sri Lanka. Then, on the fourth day, off-spinner Muralitharan took four of India's last five wickets to make sure that the lead was a marginal 95.
The only threat of defeat for Sri Lanka lay in a batting collapse, which Mahanama precluded with a classy innings of 151, with 19 fours, in 520 minutes. There was a brief glimmer of hope for the Indians when three quick wickets on the final morning reduced Sir Lanka to 157 for four. But Mahanama and Tillekeratne, who needed a runner after injuring his knee, added 132 to steer the home team to safety.
The bad feeling which plagued the previous Test persisted, especially when the umpires paid close attention to what they feared were scuff marks on a ball being used by Prabhakar. But Tendulkar, leading the team for the first time after fever kept Azharuddin off the field in the closing stages, did his best to maintain calm. Kapil Dev, still seeking the seven wickets he needed to head the list of Test wicket-takers, did notch up another landmark: on the fourth day he passed Lance Gibbs's record of 27,115 deliveries in Test cricket.
Man of the Match: R. S. Mahanama.
Men of the Series: Sri Lanka - P. A. De Silva; India - M. Prabhakar.
Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 226-4 (P. A. De Silva 118*, H. P. Tillekeratne 14*); Second day, India 84-0 (M. Prabhakar 37*, N. S. Sidhu 39*); Third day, India 384-5 (M. Azharuddin 47*, A. Kumble 0*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 132-1 (R. S. Mahanama 67*, A. P. Gurusinha 34*).