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Sri Lanka Hang On For Draw

England tried everything but in the end came up just short against Sri Lanka
England tried everything but in the end came up just short against Sri Lanka
©REUTERS / Action Images
England were left disappointed after thinking they had won in the final over
England were left disappointed after thinking they had won in the final over
©REUTERS / Action Images

England 575-9 dec. & 267-8 dec. drew with
Sri Lanka 453 (Sangakkara 147) & 201-9
First Test, Lord's

Sri Lanka held off a hard-charging England in a dramatic final session of the first Test at Lord's to claim a draw.

England thought they had won with the penultimate delivery of the game when Nuwan Pradeep was given out leg before wicket to Stuart Broad only for the batsman to have the decision overturned on review.

Then, from the very last ball, he edged into the slips but the ball didn't carry and as a result, Sri Lanka closed on 201 for nine and the two sides make their way to Headingley all square.

England declared on their overnight score of 267 for eight to set Sri Lanka a target of 390 and for much of the day, the game meandered towards a more mundane draw.

Kaushal Silva (57) and Kumar Sangakkara (61) made half-centuries to frustrate England before the home side, led by James Anderson (4-25), Broad (3-43) and Chris Jordan (2-34), almost forced a victory.

Sri Lanka, however, were not to be denied, Angelo Mathews using up 90 balls to make 18 and Prasanna Jayawardene - batting with a broken finger - bravely making eight in 62.

Both men fell as England crowded the bat, relying on their quick bowlers but in the end, it was Sri Lanka's quick bowlers Shaminda Eranga and Pradeep, both unbeaten on nought, who saved the day for their side.

As expected, England decided against batting on in the morning to set Sri Lanka a target of 390, allowing themselves the full 90 overs.

And it always looked as if they would need all of them as after Dimuth Karunaratne flicked Anderson to Sam Robson at short leg for 16, Sri Lanka held sway.

Silva made his second half-century of the match, scoring 57 in 105 balls while Sangakkara, who made 147 in Sri Lanka's first innings, stroked 61 in 168 deliveries.

They added 98 together for the second wicket to take their side almost halfway through the day until Silva clipped Jordan down the leg-side and was well caught by Matthew Prior behind the stumps - after a successful review by England.

Old partners Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene (18) joined forces and continued to frustrate England for another 12 overs before Anderson provided a double breakthrough that would turn the game on its head.

First he induced Sangakkara to chop onto his stumps and then had Jayawardene caught behind via the faintest of thin edges.

And when four balls later Lahiru Thirimanne edged the Lancashire man to Jordan in the slips for two, Sri Lanka were wobbling at 170 for five.

Up stepped Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene, who was not expected to come out to bat given that he will be returning home after the match to recover from his injury.

Together, they blocked, ducked and left the ball alone for one ball more than 20 overs as England tried various tactics to try to shift them.

Alastair Cook backed his pace bowlers although both Moeen Ali and Joe Root had a bowl and there were some aggressive fields set to try to force a mistake.

When it came, it was from a more conventional source as Jayawardene missed a straight delivery from Jordan and was trapped in front.

Nuwan Kulasekara fell to the same method of dismissal as Broad struck to set up a thrilling final few overs with Sri Lanka at 199 for seven and England needing three wickets in six overs.

They got the one they really needed at the end of the 87th over when Mathews' defiant vigil was ended by Anderson, who had him feeling for one outside off stump and Cook held on at first slip.

Rangana Herath, just as he was in the first innings, was given a severe working over and at the start of the final over, a short leg-side delivery brought about his downfall as he gloved the ball to Prior and walked off.

Had he stood his ground and either been given not out or decided to review a decision against him he would have been reprieved as his hand had come off his bat at the moment of contact. Back in the dressing room having made one in 14 balls, his dismisal left it down to Eranga and Pradeep with five balls to spare.

Broad gave it his all, and thought he had won the game when the ball crashed into Pradeep's pad four balls later but Pradeep knew he had hit it and reviewed immediately.

The decision was swiftly overturned and having survived that, he got enought bat on the final ball of the game to steer the ball away and just short of Jordan in the slips to cap a dramatic finale.

Joe Root was named as the man of the match after he made 200 not out in England's first innings of 575 for nine declared.

In reply, Sangakkara made 147 and Mathews 102 as Sri Lanka posted 453. Then the game came alive as England struggled, Gary Ballance's 104 not out apart, in their second innings.

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