Toss: Sri Lanka.
Pakistan flirted with defeat after being set a mammoth target of 426 to win, or most of four sessions to survive. Sri Lanka had declared half an hour after tea on the fourth day as Aravinda de Silva reached his third successive Test century. He became the first batsman ever to score two unbeaten hundreds in the same Test. But after Pakistan had stumbled to 28 for two, bad light intervened that evening. Next day, Salim Malik scored a polished 155, sharing century partnerships with Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq. Pakistan were well out of danger when more bad light ended play seven overs early. A docile pitch and fielding that dropped below Sri Lanka's usual standard helped save the game. Malik was dropped by Kalpage off his own bowling on 42 but went on to his 15th Test century; he had struck 26 fours when he was caught behind attempting a big hit off Silva.
Sri Lanka had made most of winning the toss, their openers sharing a stand of 95. Then De Silva compiled his tenth century, which he took 138 not out next day, hitting 19 fours in four and half hours. But the last three wickets fell within an hour next morning. This time Pakistan opener Salim Elahi lasted three balls of Vaas's first over, and the tourists were in some trouble at 83 for four. Inzamam and Asif Mujtaba started the recovery and Moin Khan scored a fine 98 from 109 balls, with three sixes and nine fours, before he was caught at backward point off Silva. Sanjeewa de Silva wrapped up the innings for his first five-wicket haul in Tests, and Sri Lanka led by 39.
They had little difficulty extending that; pace bowlers Mohammed Zahid and Shahid Nazir, themselves understudies for Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, had broken down, forcing Pakistan to turn to the unlikely new-ball pairing of Malik and Ijaz. They also had a makeshift wicket-keeper in Elahi, Moin having injured his foot. Jayasuriya and Arnold surpassed their previous effort by putting on 157, two short of Sri Lanka's first-wicket record. Jayasuriya advanced to 113 in four and a half hours. But Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva stepped up a gear, adding 105 in 107 balls; Ranatunga made 66 from 62, with nine fours and three sixes, while De Silva, dropped on 80 by Elahi, reached 103 in 99 balls with 11 fours and a six.
Ranatunga's critics later argued that he should have declared at tea, denying De Silva his landmark in order to gain time to bowl Pakistan out. As it was, after Vaas had removed the openers, the touring batsmen combined sense and defiance for the rest of the match.
Man of the Match: P. A. De Silva. Man of the series: P. A. De Silva
Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 281-7 (P. A. De Silva 101*, W. P. U. J. C. Vaas 9*); Second day, Pakistan 146-4 (Inzamam-Ul-Haq 43*, Asif Mujtaba 31*); Third day, Sri Lanka 102-0 (S. T. Jayasuriya 61*, R. P. Arnold 29*); Fourth day, Pakistan 28-2 (Ijaz Ahmed 9*, Salim Malik 5*).