Second Test Match

PAKISTAN v SRI LANKA

At Faisalabad, September 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Sri Lanka won by 42 runs. Toss: Pakistan. Test debut: Mohammad Akram.

Sri Lanka levelled the series with their first Test win on Pakistani soil, a victory which underlined the rise in their fortunes: it was only six months since their first overseas win, against New Zealand in Napier. They were strengthened by De Silva, who flew in from England after spending a season with Kent and scored what proved a match-winning century. Pakistan, on the other hand, lost another experienced player when Waqar Younis withdrew, saying he needed longer to regain his fitness, and suffered a further heavy blow when a shoulder injury prevented Wasim Akram from bowling in Sri Lanka's second innings.

At first, however, Pakistan looked likely to take the series. Sri Lanka lost Mahanama in the opening over and were 33 for four when Saqlain Mushtaq dismissed De Silva and Ranatunga with successive balls. Tillekeratne averted the hat-trick and batted sensibly to reach 115, his third Test century. But his only real support came from Hathurusinghe and Vaas. In reply, Pakistan took the lead with only four wickets down and captain Ramiz Raja continued his successful comeback with another seventy. Their luck began to change when Inzamam-ul-Haq was hit on the helmet by Wickremasinghe: dizziness kept him out of the game for the next two days. Just before the second-day close, Pakistan lost three wickets for three to the second new ball.

Still, they took a 110-runs lead next morning and quickly reduced Sri Lanka to 24 for two. It was Hathurusinghe and Silva who turned the game in a stand of 176, a Sri Lankan third-wicket record. Hathurusinghe scored 83, his best in internationals, while De Silva batted more than six and a half hours for 105, his eighth Test hundred, which included 11 fours; he also became the second Sri Lankan to reach 3,000 Test runs, following Ranatunga. Sri Lanka led by 130 when he fell at last but the last four wickets added another 121. Aqib Javed finally saw them off on the fourth evening to complete his first five-wicket haul in Tests.

That left Pakistan to score 252: they were already two down by stumps, with Ramiz out in the final over. On the fifth day, Saeed Anwar advanced to his third fifty in as many innings, but the home batsmen then lost their way against the pace of Vaas and the off-spin of Muralitharan and Dharmasena. Inzamam, allowed to bat at No. 4 despite his absence in the field, still seemed shaky and gave Muralitharan a return catch just before lunch. That wicket, Muralitharan's seventh in the match, made him Sri Lanka's leading Test wicket-taker, overtaking Rumesh Ratnayake with 73. A fighting fifty from Moin Khan, backed up by the injured Wasim, could not deny Sri Lanka their historic victory.

Man of the Match: M. Muralitharan.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 43-1 (Saeed Anwar 21*, Saqlain Mushtaq 0*); Second day, Pakistan 294-8 (Moin Khan 2*, Aqib Javed 1*); Third day, Sri Lanka 174-2 (U. C. Hathurusinghe 67*, P. A. De Silva 78*); Fourth day, Pakistan 58-2 (Saeed Anwar 30*, Inzamam-ul-Haq 0*).

© John Wisden & Co