First Test


At Sialkot, December 12, 13, 14, 16, 17. Drawn. Toss: Sri Lanka. Pakistan appeared well on the way to an innings victory before lunch on the final day, after three Sri Lankan wickets fell on 58 and half the side were back in the pavilion with 95 needed to make the hosts bat again. De Silva was caught by Ijaz Ahmed at short square leg off the off-spinner Akram Raza, attempting a big hit; and within eight balls Gurusinha was trapped lbw by Aqib Javed and Ranatunga edged one behind the stumps. He thus registered a pair in his first Test since losing the captaincy earlier in the year. But after the interval left-handers Jayasuriya and Tillekeratne took the fight to the bowlers. When bad light stopped play in the 47th over, they had added 79 for the sixth wicket. The captains agreed to call off the match with Sri Lanka still 16 runs behind.

On each of the five days the fading light of early winter put a dampener on Pakistan's ambitions, although none of the Sri Lankan batsmen except Jayasuriya and Tillekeratne came to terms with the swing and movement generated by the home team's pace quartet on a fast Sialkot wicket. Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka started well, but an 18-ball blitz from Aqib Javed helped to reduce them to 128 for five. Jayasuriya and Tillekeratne then added 101 before Jayasuriya fell for a 222-minute 77, his highest Test score. Waqar Younis's five-wicket haul was his sixth in his 12th Test.

In the 78.2 overs possible on the third day Pakistan could add only 171 runs to their overnight score, as left-arm spinner Anurasiri, with figures of 39.2-15-16-2, kept a tight length and gave absolutely nothing away. He dismissed Ramiz Raja two runs short of 100, after he had batted nearly four and a half hours, hitting 11 fours and dominating a 128-run opening partnership with Shoaib Mohammad. On the fourth day Salim Malik reached his ninth Test century, in 298 minutes and 212 balls, with a five and ten fours, and Imran Khan might have had his seventh. He had batted nearly four hours for 93 when he declared 20 minutes after tea, having set up a lead of 153.

Man of the Match: Salim Malik.

Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 191-5 ( S. T. Jayasuriya 60*, H. P. Tillekeratne 14*); Second day, Pakistan 72-0 ( Ramiz Raja 43*, Shoaib Mohammad 19*); Third day, Pakistan 243-4 ( Salim Malik 36*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 13-1 ( U. C. Hathurusinghe 2*, A. P. Gurusinha 2*).

© John Wisden & Co