Tests: Pakistan 1 Sri Lanka 0, ODIs: Pakistan 4 Sri Lanka 1

The Sri Lankans in Pakistan, 1991-92

In a tense match at Faisalabad, the Sri Lankans came very close to winning their first-ever Test from home. But a lack of killer instinct, little knowledge of local conditions and the dominance of the Pakistani pace attack meant that they just let the opportunity slip by. Pakistan scraped home to victory by three wickets and thus took the series 1-0, after two draws. Nevertheless, the Sri Lankans were a popular team and, playing most of their games in the smaller centres, attracted some good crowds. Their lack of experience under pressure at the highest level was evident in the one-day international rubber, where the Pakistanis dominated them, except at Multan, where Sri Lanka measured themselves against a run-rate above five an over to win with consummate ease. It was their only victory of the tour.

Sri Lanka badly missed the contributions that former captain Arjuna Ranatunga could have made in the middle order. He appeared drastically out of form, and failed to score in his first three Test innings, but it later transpired that he was not fully fit. Before the start of the limited-overs series, he was on his way home to recuperate. Similarly, the tourists' main strike bowler, Rumesh Ratnayake, failed to come up to expectations and left soon after the Tests because of complications resulting from injury. Two replacements were summoned, fast bowler Graeme Labrooy and off-spinner Ruwan Kalpage, but did nothing of note.

Aravinda de Silva, who had taken over as captain when Ranatunga fell from grace soon after the 1990-91 tour of New Zealand, tried to make the best of the situation. Unfortunately, his own dwindling form affected the team's confidence on several occasions. The batting heroes of the tour were two left-handers, Sanath Jayasuriya and the wicket-keeper, Hashan Tillekeratne. Jayasuriya again found the Pakistani pitches to his liking; in 1988-89, touring with Sri Lanka B, he hit three unbeaten hundreds, including two double-centuries.

The emergence and success of the two young pace bowlers, Kapila Wijegunawardene and Pramodya Wickremasinghe, who took 11 first-class wickets each, was encouraging. Unfortunately, Champaka Ramanayake failed to share the burden of the pace attack with these two and Ratnayake, claiming only one wicket in three matches. The Sri Lankans had dropped fast bowler Saliya Ahangama, wicket-keepers Romesh Kaluwitharana and Brendon Kuruppu and young off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan from the party that toured England five months earlier. Their places were taken by the recalled Ranatunga, Wickremasinghe, opener Athula Samarasekera and wicket-keeper Ashley de Silva.

The chinks in the Pakistanis' armour were covered by the tremendous form of fast bowler Waqar Younis, ably supported by Wasim Akram and Aqib Javed. The batting was strengthened by Ramiz Raja, Imran Khan himself and the youngster Zahid Fazal, who played a match-winning 78 at Faisalabad. The poor form of Javed Miandad was thus less serious than it might have been. But the highlight of the limited-overs series was the emergence of the 21-year-old Inzamam-Ul-Haq of Multan. His nonchalant batting brought him two consecutive one-day hundreds and made it all worthwhile for the host nation.

Match reports for

1st Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sialkot, Dec 12-17, 1991
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Gujranwala, Dec 20-25, 1991
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3rd Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Faisalabad, Jan 2-7, 1992
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1st ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sargodha, Jan 10, 1992
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2nd ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Karachi, Jan 13, 1992
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3rd ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Hyderabad (Sind), Jan 15, 1992
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4th ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Multan, Jan 17, 1992
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5th ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi, Jan 19, 1992
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© John Wisden & Co