Second Test Match

SRI LANKA v INDIA 1985-86

Toss: India. Test debuts: Sri Lanka - C.D.U.S.Weerasinghe.

Sri Lanka's epochal Test win, in only their fourteenth Test match, came despite their own slow batting at the start, but their well-directed seam attack, bowling on and outside off stump, put them well in the hunt by establishing a convincing first-innings lead. India's woeful catching on the first day enabled Silva and Madugalle to build a steady foundation of 168 by the close, and Dias's polished 95 increased the advantage on the second day. Although the last six wickets fell for 17, the Sri Lankan bowlers maintained it by capturing three Indian wickets for 6 runs by the end of the day's play.

Despite half-centuries from Srikkanth, Gavaskar and Amarnath on the third day, India frittered away their margin of safety by losing four quick wickets for 34 runs on the fourth morning. This left Sri Lanka, 141 runs ahead, time to set up a declaration on the fourth afternoon, and Dias and Aravinda de Silva obliged with quick-fire knocks that left their bowlers a whole day to bring about the country's first Test win.

Notwithstanding two dubious decisions on the final morning, India, set a target of 348 in 333 minutes plus twenty overs, could have batted out for a draw. However, Ratnayake swung the match for Sri Lanka by running through the middle order. A defiant 78 by Kapil Dev produced moments of anxiety before Ratnayake dived to take a smart return catch to dismiss the Indian captain and seal the victory which led to a nationwide celebration and a public holiday the following day. Silva's century and nine dismissals in the match were an unprecedented feat by a wicket-keeper in a Test match.

© John Wisden & Co