The Sri Lankans arrived in Pakistan in October bubbling with confidence after their first-ever victory in a Test series - against India at home the previous month - but their tour, Sri Lanka's second to Pakistan, proved to be a disappointment for them. They lost the three-match Test series 2-0 and were outplayed in the four one-day internationals.
Their failure was due mainly to the inability of their experienced batsmen Sidath Wettimuny, Roy Dias, Ranjan Madugalle and the captain, Duleep Mendis, to strike form. Only Aravinda de Silva, who celebrated his twentieth birthday and scored his maiden Test hundred at Faisalabad, displayed his skills and realised his promise. He went on to make another hundred in the final Test at Karachi, in difficult circumstances, against fine bowling by Imran Khan, Abdul Qadir and Tauseef Ahmed.
The Sri Lankan bowling, except for Ravi Ratnayeke and Asantha de Mel, was equally unimpressive. Ratnayeke took ten wickets in the series, eight of them for 83 in Pakistan's first innings in the second Test, the best return by any Sri Lankan bowler. That match, the first played at Sialkot, was won for Pakistan by the excellent bowling of Imran Khan, who had match figures of nine for 95. Imran was playing in a Test series for the first time after an absence of two years because of injury. At Karachi, De Mel's six for 109, his best figures in Test cricket, gave Sri Lanka a chance to win the third Test and so square the series. But it was Pakistan's off-spinner, Tauseef Ahmed, who had the final say in a bowlers' match by taking five for 54 in Sri Lanka's second innings to win it for the home side. In defence of both Sri Lanka's batsmen and bowlers, there was little time for them to adjust to Pakistani conditions before the one-day internationals and Test matches began. Their itinerary provided only one warm-up match, and that was abandoned because of rain.
The first Test at Faisalabad was destined to be a dull, dreary affair once the decision to play the match on a newly laid pitch was overturned by the Pakistan chairman of selectors, Hanif Mohammad. Despite strong protests by the local cricket association and other administrators, Test cricket was again played on a lifeless pitch which produced a feast of runs and few wickets.
The series saw the retirement of Pakistan's most prolific batsman, Zaheer Abbas, who announced his decision during the second Test in Sialkot, the city of his birth. His farewell Test was to have been the match at Karachi but he withdrew from the team. He did make himself available for the Sharjah Cup one-day tournament in November but was not selected. In his 78 Tests, Zaheer scored 5,062 runs, including twelve hundreds, at an average of 44.79. Another resignation was Javed Miandad's from the captaincy of Pakistan. Imran Khan took over for the one-day series against the visiting West Indians.
Test matches - Played 3: Lost 2, Drawn 1.
First-class matches - Played 3: Lost 2, Drawn 1. Abandoned 1.
Losses - Pakistan (2).
Draw - Pakistan.
Abandoned - BCCP President's XI.
Non first-class matches - Played 4: Lost 4. Losses-- Pakistan (4).
Match reports for