Asian Test Championship

Pakistan v Sri Lanka 1998-99

Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: Imran Nazir, D. A. Gunawardene.

A weakened Sri Lanka - captain Ranatunga, vice-captain Aravinda de Silva and Vaas had joined the injury list - managed to draw the last qualifyfing match. Pakistan might have forced a second victory if bad weather had not wiped out more than seven hours' play. But it made little difference in the long-term. Sri Lanka needed seven bonus points to overtake India and join Pakistan in the final. They had four when they took Pakistan's ninth wicket in the 95th over. That meant they were looking for three batting points - 300 runs insided 100 overs; they did it in 77. Indian supporters promptly accused Pakistan of allowing the Sri Lankan batsmen to score freely in order to keep India out of the final, a charge which was strongly denied.

Two home players made history. Wasim Akram took a hat-trick, the first in Tests for Pakistan, and Wajahatullah Wasti, playing his second Test, completed a century in each innings, becoming only the third Pakistani to do so after Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad, now the team coach.

Wasti had made a disappointing debut at Calcutta, but was promoted to open here. After losing Saeed Anwar in the first over, and being dropped at the wicket on nine, he responded by scoring 133, including 18 fours and two sixes. He put on 105 in two hours with Imran Nazir, a 17-year old batsman from Gujranwala, on the rain-interrupted first day, and then 178 with Yousuf Youhana. But wickets fell regularly after that, with Wickremasinghe, who had missed the Colombo Test, collecting a Test-best six for 103.

Replying, Sri Lanka had to go all out for runs. Arnold and another Test newcomer, Avishka Gunawardene, put on 84 in the first hour, and the next day Arnold went on to his maiden Test century. He added 143 with Kaluwitharana before being bowled round his legs by Saqlain Mushtaq, just one run short of the third batting point. But Kaluwitharana secured that to ensure qualification on the way to his own hundred. Then Wasim, who had rested himself throughout the third morning, demolished the last four wickets in eight balls, starting with his historic hat-trick. He had Kaluwitharana caught at the wicket off an outside edge, then knocked out Bandatrilleke's lef stump and Wickremasinge's off stump. In his next over, he added Sajeewa de Silva. They took him to 372 Test wickets, and he later said his sights were now on Kapil Dev's record of 434.

Pakistan led by 70 runs, and Wasti and Shahid Afridi batted out the rest of the day. Afridi was dropped four times before he was finally caught next morning, after they had put on 156, a record for Pakistan's first wicket against Sri Lanka. But Wasti batted seven hours in all and was still unbeaten on 121, his second century of the match, when Wasim declared at 314 for eight. Wasti commented that the pitch was "too easy". Sri Lanka's target was an unlikely 385. Arnold and Jayawardene scored fifties before rain and bad light ended the game.

© John Wisden & Co