On this day in 1986: Pakistan defeat Sri Lanka in controversial Kandy Test

There have been many controversial Test matches in the history of the game including the Kolkata Test in 1999 between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, the Sydney Test in 2008 between Australia and India, etc. Among them another Test series finds a place and that happens to be the 1985/86 series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

While this was Pakistan’s first-ever Test tour to the Emerald Island, the red-ball series became a forgettable one as it created bitterness among both sides due to an umpiring decision as Arjun Ranatunga was given not out after an aggressive appeal from Pakistan fielders for a bat-pad catch.

Umpire’s decision did not sit well with Pakistan players who gave a mouthful to Ranatunga, feeling he should have walked back. After some heated exchange between the players, Ranatunga complained to the umpire about the behaviour of Pakistan players and left the field along with his batting partner Roy Dias. However, play resumed after a short delay as visiting skipper Imran Khan apologised to the umpires and the Sri Lankan duo returned to the field.

Meanwhile, it was on this very day in 1986 that Pakistan got the better of the Lankans in the first of the three Test matches.

Pakistan register a huge win in the 1986 Kandy Test

The hosts were skittled for just 109 runs despite winning the toss and electing to bat first as skipper Imran Khan, Tauseef Ahmed and Abdul Qadir were the picks of the bowlers with three wickets apiece. Pakistan in reply capitalized on the opportunity beautifully by scoring 230 in the first innings courtesy of a brilliant 81 from opener Mudassar Nazar and a vital 54 from the middle-order batter Saleem Malik. Tail-ender Tauseef Ahmed also contributed with an unbeaten 23.

Sri Lanka had a lot of work to do in the second innings having a 121-run deficit with the additional challenge of setting a competitive target for the visitors, but they failed to live up to the expectations as they were bundled out for just 101 with only two batters Roy Dias (26) and Arjuna Ranatunga (33) showing some resistance while the rest of them only managed to score in single digits.

Tauseef did the bulk of the damage with an amazing six-wicket haul and led to Pakistan won by an innings and 20 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series. Tauseef Ahmed was adjudged the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 23 in the first innings and figures of 3/32 and 6/45 in the contest.

The Lankans won the next Test by eight wickets and the final game ended in a stalemate as the series was tied at 1-1.