Sri Lanka fought bravely to keep the series level, the nineteen-year-old Gurusinha, in only his third Test, and the 21-year-old Ranatunga batting throughout the fifth day, which began with Sri Lanka 83 for three. Gurusinha batted for 495 minutes (307 balls) and hit fourteen 4s; Ranatunga for 341 minutes (208 balls) with four 6s and fourteen 4s. However, Pakistan missed five catches and two stumpings on the final day, Ranatunga escaping six times. Sri Lanka were also helped by the rain, which washed out all but two hours, twenty minutes of the fourth day.
Winning the toss and batting, Sri Lanka made cautious progress to 191 for four on the first day. Including the last one-day international, Ranatunga's fifty was his third in successive innings against Pakistan, while Mendis's signalled a welcome return to form. Pakistan were again in early trouble, but Ramiz Raja led the recovery to 180 for five by the close of the second day. On the third he advanced to his first Test hundred, and when lbw to the persevering Ratnayeke had batted for 388 minutes (242 balls) and hit seventeen 4s. Pakistan's lead of 37 grew in significance when Sri Lanka lost both opening batsmen at 18 and finished the day 24 for two. But first the rain and then Sri Lanka's two young left-handers were to have the final say.