First Test Match


Sri Lanka, opting to bat on a grassy wicket, quickly found that it was ideal for strokeplay, and while Ratnayeke grafted his way to his highest Test score, Wettimuny took a more active role in Sri Lanka's first three-figure opening partnership in Tests. With no play on the second day, owing to rain and fog, it was three days later when Ratnayeke resumed, only to fall quickly to Kapil Dev, the Indian captain's first Test wicket in 106 fruitless overs since his dismissal of Athey at Birmingham in July. Dias, surviving a chance before he had scored, and Ranatunga hit stylish half-centuries to set Sri Lanka towards their highest score against India, and then, when the home team batted, Gavaskar compiled a typically sound and long innings until, in vexation over Labrooy's continued and unchecked use of the bouncer, he virtually gave his wicket away. He had, however, achieved his ambition of scoring a Test hundred (his 34th) in the city where his wife grew up. Azharuddin put behind him a lean patch with a marathon innings that had come almost to a standstill when he was leg-before on the threshold of a double-hundred. Both he and Kapil Dev (165 balls, one six, nineteen fours) made their highest scores in Tests, while their 272 for the sixth wicket, at more than 5 an over, was only 26 short of the record recently established in the series against Australia. However, India's 676 for seven was both their highest total in all Tests and the highest in a Test match in India.

Man of the Match: S. M. Gavaskar.

Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 217-2 (J. R. Ratnayeke 93*, A. P. Gurusinha 0*); Second day, No play; Third day, India 74-1 (S. M. Gavaskar 39*, R. Lamba 13*); Fourth day, India 321-3 (S. M. Gavaskar 148*, M. Azharuddin 59*).

© John Wisden & Co