The Third Test began a day behind schedule as a mark of respect following the death on January 2 of Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab, a former Chief Minister of the State of Orissa. Kapil Dev's reversal of fortune in winning the toss gave India an immediate and undeniable advantage as the wicket at the Barabati Stadium was virtually unprepared. It was an unpropitious stage of the city's first Test match, for the bounce and movement off the pitch were unpredictable from the start. In such conditions, Vengsarkar's highest Test innings of 166 (279 balls, fourteen fours) was especially praiseworthy. He was accompanied for much of the first day by the resolute Amarnath, who batted just over four hours for his 39, but there was a change of tempo on the second day when Kapil Dev joined Vengsarkar in a sixth-wicket stand of 111 in 25 overs.
That a total of 400 would be beyond Sri Lanka's reach became obvious as Maninder Singh and Kapil Dev, bowling at slow-medium pace and producing shooters almost at will, worked their way through the Sri Lankan batting. A seventh-wicket stand between Dias and Aravinda de Silva promised to save Sri Lanka from following-on, but when four wickets fell for 3 runs they were batting again before the close of the third day, 209 behind and soon losing wickets to the spinners. Next morning Kapil Dev scuttled Ratnayake with a low-bouncing delivery to claim his 300th wicket for India and, one day after his 28th birthday and in his 83rd Test, share with I. T. Botham the double of 3,000 runs and 300 wickets in Test cricket. Shastri, who had been under-bowled in the first innings, hastened the end with four for 11 in eleven overs, and within minutes after lunch India had registered their first series victory at home since K. W. R. Fletcher's England side were beaten in 1981-82.
Man of the Match: Kapil Dev. Man of the Series: D. B. Vengsarkar.
Close of play: First day, India 224-3 (D. B. Vengsarkar 98*, R. Lamba 24*); Second day, Sri Lanka 37-2 (A. P. Gurusinha 4*, E. A. R. De Silva 1*); Third day, Sri Lanka 51-3 ( R. J. Ratnayake 0*).