Sri Lanka pulled off a historical Test Series win in England on a hard-fought final day on Tuesday at Leeds. The match was heading towards a dramatic draw with England fighting till death. It was only in the penultimate delivery of the match that Sri Lanka could complete the 100-run victory as Shaminda Eranga produced a nasty bouncer to have last man James Anderson fending off to leg gully.
Fighting for a draw on the final day, there was little hope for England as they were already lost five wickets. The writing was on the wall when the 9th wicket went down but a stubborn last-wicket stand between Moeen Ali and James Anderson raised hopes of a draw and almost spoiled Sri Lanka’s party. James Anderson who was the last man out went on to face 55 deliveries without scoring a single run while partnering Moeen Ali for 20.1 overs!
Watch Highlights of Sri Lanka’s historic win against England at Leeds
England needed 350 to win this Second and final Test at Headingley and by the close of Day 4 they had hopelessly slipped to 57 for 5. Dhammika Prasad bowled his heart out to take 5 for 50 in 22 overs. Rangana Herath toiled hard to take three wickets in 42 overs. England batted out 116.5 overs to score 249. It would have been an early finish but for Moeen Ali’s maiden Test century. Moeen Ali who was playing in only his second Test showed a lot of class and temperament in an unbeaten knock of 108 from 281 balls with 17 fours. The bearded 27-year-old left-hander had walked in at no.7 with his team in desperate trouble at 57 for 5!
On Day 1, England had won the toss and opted to bowl first. The decision proved to be right as Sri Lanka were bowled out on the first day itself for a modest score of 257 in 69.5 overs. Kumar Sangakkara top scored with 79 (from 147 balls with 13 fours) while Wicket Keeper Dinesh Chandimal scored 45. For England, Stuart Broad claimed the second hat-trick of his career in his 3 for 46. Liam Plunkett justified his selection by taking 5 for 64.
Sri Lanka fought back with the ball restricting the hosts to 365 from a strong position of 278 for 2. Opener Sam Robson who was playing in his second Test registered a maiden Test century, scoring 127 (from 253 balls with 15 fours and a six). Ian Bell in his 100th Test scored 64. Shaminda Eranga and Skipper Angelo Mathews captured four wickets each to keep the English lead down to 108.
It was a complete turnaround for Sri Lanka in the second innings as their batsmen made the English bowlers toil extremely hard to take wickets. Veterans Kumar Sangakkara (55) and Mahela Jayawardene (79) led from the front with half centuries. It was a special knock of 160 (from 249 balls with 25 fours and a six) from Angelo Mathews that did all the difference for the Lankans. Mathews pulled off an incredible 149-run stand with Rangana Herath (48) for the 8th wicket to boost up an otherwise poor second innings lead.
Sri Lanka finished on a high at 457 all out and thus leaving England a stiff target of 350 which was more than enough for the former to defend on the final day. The Man of the Match was Angelo Mathews. The Players of the Series were James Anderson for England and Angelo Mathews for Sri Lanka.