- England came close to winning the first Test © Getty Images
By Bharath Ramaraj
Jun 16, 2014
At the end of the final session of the final day’s play in the first Test played between England and Sri Lanka at Lord’s, Sri Lanka made 201 for nine. So, they were able to save the Test. It turned out to be a cliffhanger of a match. England’s pacers led by James Anderson came back in the second session by taking a slew of wickets. Anderson got the ball to reverse it both ways and took key wickets that included Kumar Sangakkara’s prized scalp.
However, Angelo Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene with dogged defence looked like would take them to safety, before Prasanna Jayawardene was trapped in front by Chris Jordan. Nuwan Kulasekara then was trapped dead in front by Stuart Broad. Both him and Anderson bowled wonderfully well with the second new ball. Anderson also took Mathews’ wicket but in the end Sri Lanka were just about able to survive. There was drama right at the end when Nuwan Pradeep was given out lbw only for it to be overturned in the last over of the innings.
Earlier, On a flat deck, England tried to choke them for runs. England’s seamers banged the track a lot of times too. It did work for them on a couple of occasions. Kaushal Silva was clambered on his head, before fending one off his glove to the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior. It wasn’t exactly banged into the pitch, but it has to be remembered that Silva is a short man. He was followed by Mahela Jayawardene edging one from James Anderson to Matt Prior. It means that we are in for an interesting last session.
Sangakkara though, continued to bat with ease. He completed his fifty. He has made three hundreds and now one fifty in his last five innings. Liam Plunkett then, the Yorkshire seamer banged a few into the pitch and bowled with real effort. It did trouble Jayawardene, the veteran batsman. He looked out of sorts for sometime. He finally got out to Anderson.
Actually, Sri Lankan openers started the fifth day’s play against England cautiously. Both openers, Dimuth Karunaratne, the left-hander and Silva were hit by a barrage of short deliveries by England pacers; James Anderson and Stuart Broad. It finally worked as Karunaratne spooned a catch to the short-leg fielder, Sam Robson off Broad’s bowling and he got out for 16 runs. A huge wicket for England to take, as they look to win the first Test of the series.
It meant that Sangakkara came into bat at No 3 position. It turned out to be an interesting tussle between Anderson and Sangakkara with Anderson bowling from around the wicket and getting the ball to shape away from the left-handed batsman. However, Sangakkara showed good defence outside his off-stump. England finally made a change with Jordan coming into the attack. He has a tendency to bowl too full, and unfortunately for England, he started with a rank bad full toss and that was duly dispatched for a boundary.
Liam Plunkett, who came into bowl as second change also bowled from around the wicket to Sangakkara. It seems like they are following a plan. Even Moeen Ali bowled a few overs with his part-time off-spin. The important factor for Sri Lanka was not to lose early wickets and negotiate Anderson, and they have done that quite well on the final day’s play. All the credit has to go to Sangakkara and Silva, the opener.
It was Alastair Cook who declared the innings and set Sri Lanka 390 runs to chase down. If Sri Lanka chase the target down, it would be the fifth highest score chased down by any team in the history of cricket. It would also be the highest successful run chase by any team at the homes of cricket, Lord’s.
England 575 for 9 decl. & 267 for 8 decl. (Gary Ballance 104*, Chris Jordan 35; Shaminda Eranga 3 for 63, Rangana Herath 4 for 95) drew with Sri Lanka 453 & 201 for 9 (Kaushal Silva 57, Kumar Sangakkara 61; James Anderson 4 for 25).
Man of the Match: Joe Root
Catch all the stories related to Sri Lanka’s tour of England 2014 here
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)