After Chappell had won the toss, Wessels dominated an opening partnership which ended when Wood was caught at long-leg off Ranatunga's first ball. Strong in cutting and driving and quick to punish the loose ball, Wessels reached his hundred in 173 minutes and had added 170 in 195 minutes with Yallop before pulling a short ball from De Silva to mid-wicket. Chappell stayed with Yallop until the close, but next morning De Mel, with the new ball, dismissed Yallop 2 short of his hundred. Hookes and Border punished tiring bowlers during the afternoon session, adding 155, of which Hookes scored 106, in 145 minutes. Hookes reached his first Test century in 156 minutes, his innings including two 6s and seventeen 4s; he scored 100 between lunch and tea.
After Chappell's tea-time declaration, Lillee took two wickets in his first over and, with Hogg dismissing Fernando, Sri Lanka were 9 for three. Mendis started aggressively and with Ranatunga added 96 in 92 minutes before mistiming a drive to mid-off. The spinners came in for punishment, ten overs at one stage costing 73 runs, and Ranatunga hit fourteen 4s while moving from 12 to 76. After lunch Yardley broke through, and, despite an aggressive innings by De Mel, Chappell was able to enforce the follow-on. Sri Lanka's second innings was destroyed when five wickets, including that of Wettimuny who batted for three hours, fell for 13 runs either side of lunch on the fourth day, bringing Australia victory with a day and a half to spare.
The attendance in the four days was approximately 30,000.