The Best of Tests: Sri Lanka create history with first multi-Test series win in England
Test cricket mirrors life. The ebbs and flows of the format have given birth to some of the most breath-taking cricketing epics. A Cricket World Series, The Best of Tests, highlights the finest of these spectacles.
SL 257/10, 457/10 (132.5)
ENG 365/10, 249/10 (116.5)
Result - Sri Lanka won by 100 runs
Player of the Match - Angelo Mathews
The two-match Test series between England and Sri Lanka in 2014 was hardly expected to be the blockbuster that it turned out to be.
Sri Lanka had just managed to save the first match by the skin of their teeth by denying England the last wicket. Sri Lanka were the 7th-ranked side and were not expected to dish out the gutsy performances that they did.
The fact that Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott were no longer in the England camp made them weaker. Still, in their home conditions, England had not lost their last 15 early-summer series and were outright favourites.
Sri Lanka were bowled for just 257 in their first innings and England piled up 365 runs. A lead of more than 100 runs in the first innings meant that the hosts were almost certain to win but the Lankan batsmen showed heart in their second innings.
Dimuth Karunaratne took the shine off the ball with a 45-run knock in which he faced 111 deliveries. Sangakkara and Jayawardene, the mainstays of the Sri Lanka batting line-up, then had a crucial partnership to keep them afloat.
But, it was the 160 from skipper Angelo Mathews and 48 from Rangana Herath lower down the order which set England a target of 350.
Despite an unbeaten century from Moeen Ali, when Stuart Broad got out, England had to successfully negotiate 20 overs with the last man James Anderson at the crease. Anderson played out 54 deliveries without scoring a run but got out off the second last ball of the match, to his utter disappointment and that of the home crowd.
Sri Lanka registered a historic 100-run victory to take the series 1-0. Sri Lanka had tried to win a Test series in England in the last three attempts but failed. The fourth one bore fruit for them and how.
©Cricket World 2020