England v Sri Lanka: Tourists hang on to draw thrilling first Test

 

First Test, day five, Lord's

England (575-9 dec & 267-8 dec) drew with Sri Lanka (453 & 201-9)

Scorecard

England were denied victory in an incredible finale to the first Test as Sri Lanka's last-wicket pair batted out the final five balls to cling on for a draw at Lord's.

In scenes of barely believable drama, umpire Paul Reiffel gave Nuwan Pradeep out lbw to apparently hand England victory off the penultimate ball.

But Sri Lanka used the decision review system to reveal an inside edge, and when an outside edge off the last ball landed inches short of second slip, the tourists had survived.

The result means the teams will head to the second and final Test at Headingley, starting on Friday, with the series all square.

Test Match Special analysis

"I've loved it and I bet the sparse crowd loved it. I felt Sri Lanka would get out of jail, but it was a great effort from England. They will feel a bit flat, but they gave nothing to feel embarrassed about. The four seamers did a terrific job. They really gave it their best shot."

The match appeared to be drifting towards a stalemate when Sri Lanka, chasing a notional 390 for victory, were 164-3 at tea.

But an amazing final session, in which six wickets fell for 37 runs in fading light, saw England to the cusp of a victory that would have banished the memories of their disastrous 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.

James Anderson finished with figures of 4-25 off 19 overs, Broad 3-43 and Chris Jordan 2-34 to complete a hugely encouraging debut.

Anderson swung the match either side of tea with three wickets, including the prize scalps of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, in a devastating spell to reduce Sri Lanka to 170-5 with 31 overs remaining.

Jayawardene was caught behind for 18 in the over before the interval before Sangakkara, with fielders crowded round the bat as captain Alastair Cook went all-out attack, chopped on to his stumps for 61.

Four balls later, Lahiru Thirimanne prodded tentatively at a reverse-swinger and edged to Matt Prior to leave Sri Lanka five wickets down.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene - batting with a broken finger - appeared to take the sting out of the tourists with a partnership that spanned 20 overs.

The door was forced back open by the irrepressible Jordan, who trapped Jayawardene lbw to leave Sri Lanka six down.

England v Sri Lanka Test series

12-16 June: 1st Test, Lord's, match drawn

20-24 June: 2nd Test, Headingley

England took the second new ball and the mayhem continued. Broad found Nuwan Kulasekara's pads, then Anderson drew an edge from Mathews that flew to slip with 18 balls left.

Sri Lanka's ninth-wicket pair rode out the next two overs, but Broad had Rangana Herath taken down the leg side with the first ball of the last over.

Four deliveries later, as Reiffel's finger went up, England were jumping around in elation, but when DRS revealed a thick inside edge, the joy was all Sri Lanka's.

The drama of the final session contrasted with the first two, during which England managed only three wickets after declaring on their overnight score of 267-8.

Broad's dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne was England's only reward before lunch, while Jordan removed Kaushal Silva for 57 to end a 98-run stand with Sangakkara for the second wicket.

Mahela Jayawardene's departure on the stroke of tea sparked England's late charge, only for Sri Lanka to deny them at the last.

England were subsequently fined 10% of their match fees by the International Cricket Council for maintaining a slow over-rate, with captain Cook fined 20%.

They have named the same 12-man squad for the second final Test of the series beginning at Headingley on Friday.

Listen to Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott analyse the day's play in the Test Match Special podcast.