sport

Sri Lanka's wait is worth it

Sri Lanka claimed a dramatic first Test series victory in England with a 100-run win on day five of the second Test at Headingley.

The tourists were made to wait deep into the evening to complete their historic triumph after a brave rearguard action by the England lower order, before No 11 James Anderson was dismissed off the day's penultimate delivery.

England were five wickets down at the start of the day but led by a battling unbeaten maiden Test century from Moeen Ali, Sri Lanka were denied right up until 7:08.

That was when Anderson was bounced out, looping a catch to leg gully off Shaminda Eranga, as England were bowled out for 249.

But as the evening had progressed and Sri Lanka could not claim that final breakthrough, it seemed England - like the tourists at Lord's last week - were about to hang on for a famous stalemate.

Anderson had kept out 54 balls without scoring a run, having joined Moeen (108no) with 20.2 overs remaining.

Moeen, in only his second Test, kept Sri Lanka at bay for more than six hours by batting out the whole of the last day before leaving the final over to his partner.

Eranga had the last say, though, after Dhammika Prasad (5-50) and Rangana Herath (3-59) had done the most damage.

The nail-biting outcome therefore does nothing to ease the pressure on the captaincy future of Alastair Cook, who led England to Ashes whitewash in Australia and was a notable survivor in his central role despite a management reshuffle around him.

England began the final morning on 57-5, and apparently with precious little hope of denying Sri Lanka.

That they almost did so was great credit to Moeen, yet the bottom line is that they have begun their new era after last winter's woes with a 1-0 series defeat.