At Karachi, October 28, 29, 30, 31, November 1, 2004. Pakistan won by six wickets. Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: Naved-ul-Hasan, Riaz Afridi.
This was a fantastic Test full of feats of individual brilliance, littered with landmarks and complete with a result that could have gone either way. Pakistan won to square the series, but Sri Lanka - 270 behind on first innings - showed real fighting spirit and might have pulled off an astonishing victory had Sangakkara clung on to an edge offered by Abdul Razzaq when Pakistan were 59 for four in pursuit of 137.
Inzamam-ul-Haq's brave decision to bowl first set the ball rolling. Without the injured Mohammad Sami (groin) and Shoaib Akhtar (shoulder), he had to throw the new ball to a pair of debutants: Naved-ul-Hasan, who had already played one-day internationals, and the 19-year-old Riaz Afridi.
The Sri Lankans made the better start as Jayasuriya and Atapattu became only the second opening pair in Tests, after Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, to add 4,000 runs together. But Kaneria removed both, and Pakistan chipped away afterwards with some disciplined bowling in helpful conditions, especially from Razzaq, who completed a maiden five-for. Sri Lanka lost all ten for 142 with only Kaluwitharana passing 50, and even that came at a price - Razzaq hit him on the right hand, forcing him to pass the wicket-keeping gloves to Sangakkara for the entire match. On day two Younis Khan, playing his first Test for more than a year, set about building a big lead for Pakistan, combining clever drop-and-run tactics with some thumping off-side strokeplay. He added 122 with Imran Farhat, 149 with Inzamam, and reached his sixth Test hundred before walking for a catch to silly point. Inzamam completed his hundred on the third morning with the pitch now playing easily.
When Sri Lanka batted again on the third evening, they trailed by 270 and seemed set for an uncomfortable 28 overs. Jayasuriya, however, had other ideas. Starting with the first ball of the innings, which he clubbed through mid-wicket for four, he launched into a thrilling counter-attack. By the close he had 97, and had passed Aravinda de Silva's Sri Lankan record of 6,361 Test runs - this in the same match in which he beat de Silva's tally of 93 caps, a national record held jointly with Arjuna Ranatunga. Jayasuriya completed his 14th Test hundred from just 110 deliveries on the fourth morning but fell to a top-edged sweep soon after. The day then took on an air of attrition as Sri Lanka's batsmen dropped anchor in the face of a marathon spell from Danish Kaneria, who bowled all but eight overs out of 42 from the Pavilion End and finished the day with six wickets and a bleeding spinning finger. Sangakkara steadily compiled his seventh Test century, and it was not until Kaneria lured the strokeless Samaraweera into a rare loose drive halfway through the final session that the wickets tumbled. Four fell for 27, including Sangakkara, who provided Naved with a maiden Test scalp when he edged a tired drive after almost six hours at the crease. In sheer frustration Sangakkara tossed his bat in the air and down on to the stumps, a gesture that cost him 30% of his match fee.
Sloppy fielding by Pakistan on the final morning meant they had to chase 137 in around two sessions. It proved trickier than it should have done, and when Atapattu dived brilliantly at mid-off to dismiss Younis, they were 57 for four. With Inzamam not certain to bat after missing the previous day with a sore back, nerves were jangling. But Sangakkara had already dropped Razzaq, and with Vaas tiring towards the end of a 14-over spell broken only by tea, Pakistan regrouped. Shoaib Malik eventually secured victory when he hammered 22 in an over off Herath.
Man of the Match: Danish Kaneria. Man of the Series: S. T. Jayasuriya.