sport

England denied dramatic win

England fell one wicket short of pulling off a thrilling final day victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka, who clung on to claim a draw by reaching stumps on 201-9 at Lord’s.

Stuart Broad had five balls at No 11 batsman Nuwan Pradeep to claim the match-winning wicket, which he thought he had taken two balls before the close when umpire Paul Reiffel awarded an lbw verdict, only for it to be correctly overturned on review following an inside edge.

There was further drama off the final ball when Pradeep edged towards Chris Jordan at second slip, only for the ball to drop agonisingly short.

The match, as it had been for the previous four days, appeared to be meandering towards a draw after a 98-run partnership between Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara kept England at bay either side of lunch.

But James Anderson reignited England's hopes of victory with the wickets of Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara and then picked up captain Angelo Mathews to end with figures of 4-25 from 19 overs.

England needed two wickets from the final three overs after the departure of Mathews and Alastair Cook's decision to bring back Broad for the final one paid dividends, albeit with a hint of fortune.

Memories of the 2005 Ashes thriller at Edgbaston were evoked when Rangana Herath gloved a short, sharp first delivery through to Matt Prior, although replays showed that Herath's hand was off the bat at the time of impact.

With the Lord's crowd on their feet baying for the final wicket Broad steamed in looking for the match-winning strike, which came before the intervention of DRS, leaving the series deadlocked heading to Leeds.

England declared immediately at the start of the day to set Sri Lanka an unlikely victory target of 390 and Broad gave the home side an ideal start when opener Dimuth Karunaratne popped a simple catch to Sam Robson at short-leg in the eighth over.

That was Broad's 50th Test wicket at Lord's but he and England were made to wait 35 overs before they could celebrate again as Silva and Sangakkara both passed 50 during a composed third-wicket stand.

Silva added to his first innings 63 by making a 107-ball 57 before his 98-run partnership with Sangakarra was brought to an end when Jordan caught the former's glove through to Prior down the leg-side.

Sri Lanka remained focused on forcing a draw and their stoic resilience continued as Sangakarra and Jayawardene ran the clock down with a 36-run partnership from 75 balls to take the score along to 159-2.

Their stand was eventually broken when Anderson found the faintest of edges on Jayawardene's bat which carried through to Prior, who held on to keep England's slender hopes alive at tea.

Seven wickets were still required at this point, however Anderson was in the groove and, with the ball beginning to show signs of reverse swing, he forced Sangakkara to drag back on to his stumps and then found Lahiru Thirimanne's edge to Jordan at second slip.

Touring wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who will fly home this week after sustaining a broken finger, batted on bravely for 62 balls before playing across a full ball from Jordan, leaving Sri Lanka tottering on 196-4 with 11 overs still remaining.

Number eight Nuwan Kulasekara also fell lbw as Broad kept England in contention and victory seemed a distinct possibility when captain Mathews, who had staved off 90 balls for his 18, edged Anderson to Cook at first slip with 18 balls left in the day.

Despite the late onslaught Sri Lanka held firm, leaving En gland to perhaps rue their late declaration, as well as the 17 overs lost in the match due to slow over-rates from both sides.