LEEDS: SRI Lanka beat England with just one ball to spare to win the second Test at Headingley by 100 runs on Tuesday and take the two-match series 1-0.
There were more than 20 overs remaining when England No 11 James Anderson came into bat.
But he survived on nought until, off the penultimate delivery of the match, he gloved a well-directed bouncer from Sri Lanka paceman Shaminda Eranga to Rangana Herath at leg gully.
Just as Sri Lanka had staved off defeat by one wicket in the drawn first Test at Lord’s, it seemed England might do likewise in Leeds.
But Sri Lanka No 11 Nuwan Pradeep only had to survive five balls at Lord’s.
Anderson had defied Australia’s attack for 53 balls when England clung on for a draw with one wicket standing in the 2009 Ashes Test in Cardiff and so nearly did the same at Headingley. His 84-minute, 55-ball duck on Tuesday was the second-longest in Test history after New Zealand’s Geoff Allott made a 101-minute, 77-ball nought against South Africa at Auckland in 1999.
Defeat was tough on England’s Moeen Ali who batted for six-and-a-half hours while making 108 not out — his maiden Test century.
England, set 350 for victory, were bowled out for 249 on the fifth and final day as Sri Lanka won a Test on English soil for only the third time following victories at The Oval in 1998 and Trent Bridge in 2006.
“It means everything to be honest,” said Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews named man-of-the-match after recording Test-best figures with both bat (160 in the second innings) and ball (four for 44 in England’s first innings).
“I threw the ball to Eranga saying ‘You’ve got to somehow do it’ and he didn’t let us down,” added the inspirational all-rounder, who also made a hundred at Lord’s.
“Moeen and Jimmy batted brilliantly.” Anderson, in tears at the presentation ceremony, said: “We got quite close and obviously we’re gutted.”
For England captain Alastair Cook defeat meant another series reverse after the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.
“It’s tough to take, we have pretty much had two bad days in the 10 days of the series and that has cost us,” Cook said. AFP