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Australia completed a 3-0 series win in a match which the nation turned into a tribute to David Boon. The day before, Boon had announced that his 107th Test would be his last; only Allan Border had played more for Australia, or scored more than Boon's 7,422 runs. There was to be no farewell century and he did not take the one catch which would have lifted him to 100. But Man of the Match Steve Waugh presented him with the ball and Taylor hailed him as "a great Australian, a great person and a great personality".
The passing of Boon doubled as a distraction from the sour events preceding the Test, notably the acrimonious one-day final the weekend before. The conduct of the match was thought critical to Australia's willingness to play world Cup games in Sri Lanka but there was no hint of trouble. Given the pre-match posturing between Arjuna Ranatunga and Australian officials, Ranatunga's unavailability because of a hand injury might have helped.
Under siege all summer, Sri Lanka fought back with their best performance of the series, but once again every run was about catching up. During the first two days, Steve Waugh had scored 170 only once in 11 Test hundreds has he been dismissed for under 164. Mark Waugh's 71 was a delightful cameo, while Healy and Reiffel contributed half-centuries. Taylor declared at 502 and Australia appeared primed to steamroll the tourists again. But the boyish Jayasuriya thought otherwise. Recalled for his first Test in 15 months, he cover-drove McGrath for six, plundered 13 off one over from McDermott and finished the second day on 47 - from 44 balls. Though he and Hathurusinghe fell to Reiffel in the fourth over next morning, Sanjeeva Ranatunga, Arjuna's younger brother and stand-in, and Tillekeratne enabled Sri Lanka to reach 317, their best first-innings offering of the series. It was still 185 shy.
Australia wanted quick runs, but Slater's decline since his double-hundred at Perth continued; as in his first-ball duck three days earlier, he fell to a ball passing between bat and pad. That brought in Boon, amid thunderous applause. Perhaps overcome, he appeared to edge his first ball from Vaas to the keeper but umpire Barker spared him. Later, Boon joked that he could not even match Bradman by being out for nought in his last innings. Steve Waugh notched up 61 not out - and, in doing so, passed 5,000 Test runs and became the proud owner of an average over 50 before Taylor made his fourth declaration in five innings.
Waugh had more work to do to wrap up the match. Jayasuriya broke loose again with a maiden Test hundred - he scored 112 in four and a half hours and 188 balls, with 14 fours and two sixes - and the first three hours of the final day produced only one wicket. At 195 for two, the draw was in sight. Though reduced to short spells by an increasingly reluctant body, Waugh imposed his will, bending one away from Jayasuriya and another in to the dangerous Kaluwitharana two balls later. He finished with four for 34 as the last eight wickets fell in two hours.
Man of the Match: S. R. Waugh. Man of the Series: S. R. Waugh.
Close of play: First day, Australia 239-5 (S. R. Waugh 70*, I. A. Healy 21*); Second day, Sri Lanka 80-0 (U. C. Hathurusinghe 24*, S. T. Jayasuriya 47)*; Third day, Australia 16-0 (M. J. Slater 7*, M. A. Taylor 9*); Fourth day, Sri Lanka 69-1 (S. T. Jayasuriya 50*, A. P. Gurusinha 2*).