Toss: New Zealand.
This was the first Test played at the stunningly beautiful Galle International Stadium, dominated by the 17th-century Dutch fort. Before Galle became the 79th Test venue - and the seventh in Sri Lanka- facilities were upgraded at vast expense, though the pitch and outfield were seemingly ignored. This oversight marred the game as a spectacle, but allowed the Sri Lankans to square the series with one to play.
Poor drainage and leaking covers meant that seven hours of play were lost on the first two days. With the ball turning square from the first over, New Zealand never found it easy to cope with the Sri Lankan spinners. They struggled to 96 for four by the close of the first day, slow left-armer Bandaratilleke taking three for ten from 15 overs. During the 55 minutes of play on the second day, he added a fourth wicket. And on the third day, Dharmasena, who had opened the bowling with his rapid off-spin, completed Test-best figures of six for 72. New Zealand were all out for 193, Astle top-scoring with a dour 53.
By stumps, the inadequacy of New Zealand's total had become clear: Sri Lanka were ahead with seven wickets in hand. The 21-year-old Jayawardene, showing remarkable technique and control, was undefeated on 88. Next day, his captain, Ranatunga, nursed him through the nineties to a magnificent maiden Test century that sparked off wild celebrations. The players hugged in mid-pitch, a policeman set off a rocket and, with remarkable timing, a hot-dog vending machine blew up, sending clouds of smoke across the pavilion.
However, Jayawardene, in only his fourth Test, was not finished yet, pushing on to a superb 167. The true test of his ability would come on hard, bouncy pitches, but he seemed to have the temperament and personality to succeed on the international stage. The next highest score was in the thirties.
New Zealand had to survive more than four sessions to save the match, but failed even to hit the 130 necessary to make Sri Lanka bat again. At 94 for five at the close of the fourth day, the cause was hopeless. When their prayers for rain on the final day went unanswered, the end came swiftly; New Zealand surrendered their last five wickets for 20 runs in 43 minutes. This capitulation shattered the confidence gained from victory in the First Test. Spin accounted for all but one of the tourists' wickets - the exception being a run-out. Bandaratilleke ended with a match haul of nine for 83 from 62 overs.
Man of the Match: D. P. M. D. Jayawardene.
Close of play: First day, New Zealand 96-4 ( N. J. Astle 30*, C. D. McMillan 2*); Second day, New Zealand 122-5 ( N. J. Astle 42*, A. C. Parore 3*); Third day, Sri Lanka 197-3 ( D. P. M. D. Jayawardene 88*, A. Ranatunga 33*); Fourth day, New Zealand 94-5 ( A. C. Parore 25*, C. L. Cairns 16*).