Toss: India. Test debut: R. S. Kalpage.
India's first win on Sri Lankan soil, and their first in 27 overseas Tests since beating England at Leeds in 1986, came late on the final day, Clinging on after being set an improbable 472 in nine hours, Sri Lanka were doing well enough on the final morning as Aravinda de Silva led them to 180 for three. But the new ball proved the last straw. Prabhakar struck twice in five deliveries and they collapsed to 198 for seven. De Silva - who had become the second Sri Lankan to score 2,000 Test runs in the first innings - threw away his wicket in frustration, after a patient six-hour 93, and soon India and ended an away sequence of ten defeats and 16 draws.
Their victory was clouded by rancour over a series of umpiring decisions. The Indians insisted that time and again their own batsmen were given out in doubtful circumstances - notably Kapil Dev, who celebrated his new status as the second-most-capped player in Test history by racing to 35 in 28 balls, only to be judged lbw to a delivery that seemed to be well clear of his stumps - while the Sri Lankans received the benefit of the doubt. But India did not help their case by over-demonstrative appealing - sledging, according to the Sri Lankans - or by Kambli's tearful reluctance to leave the crease when he hoped to score a fourth hundred in consecutive Test innings.
Batting first on a green-looking pitch which played fast and true, India were steered to a total of 366 thanks to Kambli's third century on the trot, following his 224 against England and 227 against Zimbabwe. But he fell early on the second morning and, after the last five Indian wickets had tumbled for 14, Sri Lanka were helped to the sound position of 200 for four by the close. Ranatunga dominated a century stand with Tillekeratne, but he added only six on the third day, when Kumble set up an Indian first-innings lead of 112. Sidhu and Prabhakar extended this by 171 - the highest opening partnership for India since Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth put on 200 against Pakistan at Madras in 1986-87. Prabhakar equalled his highest Test score of 95 and next day Sidhu advanced to his fourth Test century, while Tendulkar, with his sixth, gave India the thrust towards the declaration. Kumble kept the Sri Lankan batsmen on a leash while the seamers worked away, but at first the home team seemed capable of achieving the draw. In the event they lost not only the match but 45 per cent of their fees for a dreadfully slow over-rate.
Man of the Match: M. Prabhakar.
Close of play: First day, India 300-4 ( V. G. Kambli 119*, P. K. Amre 6*); Second day, Sri Lanka 200-4 ( A. Ranatunga 82*, H. P. Tillekeratne 23*), Third day, India 205-2 ( N. S. Sidhu 85*, S. R. Tendulkar 13*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 86-2 ( A. P. Gurusinha 19*, P. A. De Silva 10*).