With 1 wicket left, Sri Lanka holds on for a draw
LONDON (AP) — Sri Lanka survived by one wicket to draw the first test against England on Monday after finishing on 201-9 at Lord’s.
England declared overnight on 267-8 and set Sri Lanka an improbable 390 runs to win and for most of the day the match looked set for a draw.
But the hosts started to glimpse victory through an inspired spell around tea from James Anderson, who ended with 4-25.
Sri Lanka, which finished 188 runs behind England, lost six wickets in the final session. Stuart Broad struck with the first ball of the final over before being awarded the 10th wicket of Nuwan Pradeep lbw on the penultimate delivery — only for Pradeep’s review to show he got a huge inside edge on the ball before it smashed into his pads.
“We couldn’t bat well after tea,” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said. “I thought it (the draw) was safe at tea but you can’t relax with the attack they’ve got.”
England captain Alastair Cook was pleased with his side’s effort.
“I can’t praise the lads enough today, it was a flat wicket,” Cook said. “We had to wait for the ball to reverse swing and it took longer than we thought. We had a chance going into the last hour and we’ve come up just short.”
Anderson took Mahela Jayawardene for 18 in the penultimate over before tea, as he found enough reverse swing to entice an edge through to Matt Prior.
After the break, he bowled Kumar Sangakkara, who made a disciplined 61 off 168 deliveries and four balls later got an edge from Lahiru Thirimanne (2) through to Chris Jordan at second slip.
It is the 10th time Anderson has taken Thirimanne’s wicket, and Sri Lanka were rattled on 170-6, losing three wickets for 11 runs.
But Mathews put on a valuable 24 for the sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene, who survived an lbw appeal from Anderson with the score still on 170.
Jordan eventually took Jayawardene’s wicket lbw after a successful review, before Stuart Broad, with the new ball in his hand, dismissed Nuwan Kulasekkara the same way with 6.5 overs remaining.
Mathews then fell to Anderson with 18 deliveries remaining, making a stubborn total of 18 in two hours and fifteen minutes at the crease, facing 90 balls.
Broad then struck with the first ball of the final over to edge England nearer to victory, dismissing Rangana Herath for 1.
The 27-year-old Broad had earlier taken his 50th wicket at Lord’s, removing opener Dimuth Karunaratne for 16. Broad is the fourth player to reach the milestone after Fred Trueman, Ian Botham and teammate Anderson. Jordan’s first wicket of the day came from Kaushal Silva, caught after flicking the ball down legside to Prior for 57, his second half century in the test.
But England has reason to feel aggrieved for not getting the win. Both teams were guilty of a slow over rate, as the anticipated number of overs failed to be reached for the first four days. England were six short when it fielded the entire third day.
“It’s something you look at, there’s quite a lot of distractions here at Lord’s but it’s something we will get better at,” Cook said. “At the moment, it’s disappointing we couldn’t get over the line.”
Mathews lauded the efforts of Sangakkara for following up his first test century at Lord’s of 147 with his 61 on the final day.
“What a player Kumar is,” Mathews said. “He played some tremendous knocks in both innings and was feeling very comfortable out there. When he got out, we were under pressure.”
The second test at Headingly starts Friday, and the tourists will be without wicketkeeper Jayawardene, who returns to Sri Lanka with a finger injury. He is replaced by Kithruwan Vithanage.