First Test Match


Sri Lanka made one change from the team which had played against England, preferring pace bowler Ratnayeke to off-spinner Kaluperuma; Pakistan, with several leading players unavailable, introduced four new caps, Salim Malik, Salim Yousuf, Rashid Khan and Tahir Naqqash.

Pakistan won the toss, but lost Mansoor Akhtar in the first over, edging De Mel, who got some lift in his first spell, to the wicket-keeper. In spite of a steady innings from Rizwan-uz-Zaman and an attacking 31 off 37 balls by Wasim Raja, Pakistan were in trouble at 126 for six before Haroon Rashid led a recovery in which the last four wickets added 270. Attacking the bowling, Haroon put on 104 with Tahir Naqqash in 97 minutes off 23.3 overs, the first 50 coming off seven overs, and a further 127 in even time with Rashid Khan. Haroon batted for 319 minutes, hitting sixteen 4s and three 6s.

Sri Lanka made a spirited reply. After losing Warnapura, lbw offering no stroke, Wettimuny and Dias added 96 in 73 minutes, Dias reaching 50 in 64 minutes before he too was lbw without offering a stroke. On the third morning, Ratnayeke, the night-watchman, batted for two hours and Madugalle for two and a half hours, but the tempo of the previous day was not maintained, only Mendis developing an innings.

Batting again, Pakistan soon lost Rizwan-uz-Zaman, and Mansoor Akhtar at 53 the next day, but the batsmen then took command. Iqbal Qasim, the night-watchman, reached his first Test fifty before giving a simple catch to square leg, and Salim Malik and Javed Miandad put Pakistan in an impregnable position. On the last day Miandad declared when Salim Malik reached his century, the third Pakistani, after Khalid Ibadulla and Miandad, to do so in his first Test. He had batted for nearly five hours and hit ten 4s in a chanceless innings.

Sri Lanka, set to make 354 in 236 minutes and twenty overs, lost Warnapura in the first over, and wickets fell at regular intervals, the batsmen making little attempt to close the game up until the position was hopeless. Although six of the first seven reached double figures, only one, the eighteen-year-old Ranatunga, passed 20, and his 33 off 41 balls contained five 4s and one 6. The match, which was watched by a total of fewer than 15,000 people, finished with two hours to spare.

© John Wisden & Co