Two days after the England team left Colombo for home, the Sri Lankans left for Pakistan, their first tour as a Test-playing country. This comprised a concentrated itinerary, with an opening three-day match - in the event, abandoned through rain - three Test matches and three one-day internationals in five weeks. With so many international games, it was inevitable that some of the team had little cricket; and indeed Perera did not play in any match, appearing only as substitute fieldsman, which assignment he accomplished brilliantly.
From Sri Lanka's point of view the results were perhaps disappointing, with one draw in the Tests and one win in the one-day matches to set against two defeats in each. More resolute batting on the last day could have saved the first Test, and the second Test might have been won had they switched to attack sooner, rather than using De Mel to bowl to a defensive field, with one slip, long after all possibility of defeat had vanished. When D. S. de Silva was brought on for the last over before tea, with only the last twenty overs to come afterwards, he took three wickets in that one over, but by then it was too late.
The main batting successes of the team were Dias and Wettimuny. To Wettimuny, succeeding his elder brother as Sri Lanka's opening batsman, fell the distinction of scoring Sri Lanka's first Test century. He showed the application necessary for Test cricket in batting throughout the first day's play. Dias was the foremost stroke-player in the team, and he was very consistent with it, scoring a fifty in every match but the last, when he was out for 49. In addition he was a fine fielder in the covers. Madugalle also showed much promise as a correct player in the middle order. The more experienced players, Warnapura and Mendis, were somewhat disappointing. Warnapura, troubled by a finger injury, played only one innings of note, in the first one-day match, and Mendis too often got out to a rash stroke.
The bowling was built around the spin of the two unrelated de Silvas, D. S. (leg-spin) and G. R. A. ( slow left-arm) and the brisk medium pace of De Mel. It was encouraging to see leg-spin used so freely at Test level, but D. S. de Silva, well as he bowled, was handicapped by having to be the team's stock bowler as well as the main attacker. His namesake rather lacked penetration in the Tests, but was useful in keeping an end going economically. De Mel kept going through long spells, moving the ball both ways and never giving up. For these three there was little support, although Ratnayeke, rather above medium pace, improved as the tour progressed. The ground fielding was mostly good, with Dias, Ranasinghe and Perera outstanding, but there were too many dropped catches, including one which may well have cost Sri Lanka the last one-day international.
The Pakistan team was involved in a dispute before the tour started, all ten of the side which had beaten Australia in Melbourne a few weeks earlier, under Javed Miandad's captaincy, refusing to play unless there was a change in captaincy for the tour of England, due later in the year. Three of them subsequently withdrew their objection and were selected; the others did not play until the last Test, enabling new players to be introduced, one of whom Salim Malik, only eighteen, scored a century on his Test début. Pakistan's bowling for the first two Tests was based on Iqbal Qasim's spin, but the last Test was dominated by Imran Khan, whose fourteen wickets in the match established a Pakistan record.
The Sri Lankan team was managed by A. P. B. Tennekoon, with E. R. Fernando as his assistant. They had been captain and vice-captain respectively on Sri Lanka's last tour of Pakistan eight years earlier.
Test matches - Played 3: Lost 2, Drawn 1.
First-class matches - Played 3: Lost 2, Drawn 1, Abandoned 1.
Losses - Pakistan (2).
Draw - Pakistan.
Abandoned - BCCP President's XI.
Non first-class matches - Played 3: Won 1, Lost 2. Win - Pakistan. Losses - Pakistan (2).
Match reports for