Each side made two changes, Pakistan including Mohsin Khan, now available, for Mansoor Akhtar and Ashraf Ali for the injured Salim Yousuf. Sri Lanka played Ranasinghe and Kaluperuma for Warnapura (injured) and Ratnayeke, Mendis taking over the captaincy. Sri Lanka won the toss and, batting first on a grassless pitch, made a good start, with makeshift opener Goonatillake staying until nearly lunch-time before being caught at gully. This was Pakistan's only success on the first day as Wettimuny and Dias took the score to 270 for one. Wettimuny reached Sri Lanka's first Test century with a sweep to the boundary off Tauseef Ahmed, but was dropped when 109 in the gully and 111 at long-leg, both off Iqbal Qasim. He scored most of his runs behind the wicket on the leg side, whereas Dias excelled with his off-driving. Both were out early on the second day, having added 217 in four hours, Wettimuny hitting 21 4s and Dias fifteen 4s.
Sri Lanka lost three more wickets before lunch, Iqbal Qasim taking his 100th Test wicket when he had Ranasinghe caught at silly-point. Apart from D. S. de Silva, Madugalle could find little support and was left with 91 not out, including fifteen 4s, the last three wickets having fallen for 8 runs to Rizwan-uz-Zaman's gentle spin.
Pakistan soon lost Mohsin Khan, skying a hook to second slip, on the second evening; and, apart from a dour innings of three and a half hours from Rizwan-uz-Zaman, none of the main batsmen stayed for long. However, Ashraf Ali, in his first Test, was severe on the spinners and had reached his fifty before bad light ended play 30 minutes early. When he was out next morning, 35 were still needed to avoid the follow-on, but Tauseef Ahmed and Rashid Khan proved equal to the task.
Sri Lanka's second innings was held together by a determined innings from Goonatillake, who stood firm for nearly three and a half hours while wickets fell at regular intervals. He was finally eighth out at 114, and the declaration came after 30 minutes on the last morning, setting Pakistan to make 339 in approximately four and a half hours. The match was proceeding quietly to a draw until D. S. de Silva took three wickets in an over which spanned the tea interval, and dismissed Javed Miandad, who completed 3,000 Test runs, in the fourth of the last twenty overs. However, Ashraf Ali and Tahir Naqqash made sure that there would not be a dramatic victory for Sri Lanka.
The overall attendance, approximately 40,000, was a considerable improvement over the first Test.