Third Test Match


Toss: Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's triumph gave them their first series win over Pakistan, and their second series win overseas, following swiftly on the first, over New Zealand in March. It was Ranatunga's fifth Test win in his 32nd Test in charge, making him easily Sri Lanka's most successful captain. But it was the beginning of the end of Ramiz Raja's brief reign: Pakistan had not lost series since the West Indians toured in 1980-81.

The tide seemed to have turned in Sri Lanka's favour after their victory in Faisalabad; they were able to field an unchanged team and won the toss for the first time, while Pakistan had to make three changes because of injury and dropped the disappointing Ijaz Ahmed junior. Still, the inexperienced home attack, led by Aqib Javed, bowled well in the first innings to keep Sri Lanka down to 232. Gurusinha and Ranatunga began the recovery from 41 for three, but the only batsman to reach fifty was Dharmasena. Coming in at No. 7, he remained unbeaten on 62 after three and a half hours. Pakistan were batting in the first hour of the second morning but ran into trouble after lunch, when they slid from 72 for one to 122 for five. Muralitharan had claimed three men lbw and, backed up by fellow off-spinners Dharmasena and De Silva, finished the innings off for 214 early next morning.

Sri Lanka were to convert a marginal lead of 18 into a strong position in their second innings. Hathurusinghe batted solidly for most of the day, falling just before bad light ended play three overs early, and the forceful Ranatunga continued throughout the fourth morning to score 87. Pakistan took the new ball in the second over of the day but, missing the strike force of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, were unable to prevent the tourists from plundering runs. Though a spectacular slip catch by Inzamam-ul-Haq finally removed Ranatunga, a valuable half-century from Tillekeratne gave Sri Lanka the confidence to declare before tea, leaving a target of 357 in four sessions.

Total humiliation for Pakistan was on the cards when Vaas and Wickremasinghe, the sometimes overlooked Sri Lankan seamers, ripped out three wickets with the score on seven and quickly added two more to leave them 15 for five. That brought in Moin Khan to join Basit Ali: they began a desperate struggle to stop the rot by adding 64 for the sixth wicket. They steered Pakistan safely past their lowest score in Tests, 62 against Australia in 1981-82, but, when Basit fell before the close, Moin must have known survival was out of the question. Nevertheless, he batted on into the final afternoon for 117 not out, his second Test hundred, thanks to last man Aamir Nazir, who held out for 75 minutes.

Man of the Match: A. Ranatunga.

Men of the Series: Pakistan - Moin Khan; Sri Lanka - H. P. Tillekeratne.

Close of play: First day, Sri Lanka 216-7 (H. D. P. K. Dharmasena 52*, W. P. U. J. C. Vaas 16*); Second day, Pakistan 199-8 (Aqib Javed 14*, Mohammad Akram 1*); Third day, Sri Lanka 176-4 (A. Ranatunga 33*, C. I. Dunusinghe 1*); Fourth day, Pakistan 99-6 (Moin Khan 46*, Aqib Javed 5*).

© John Wisden & Co