x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

England miss out on dramatic victory over Sri Lanka in first Test

England miss out on win by one wicket as captain Alistair Cook rues lack of a spinner while lauding his bowlers for scripting a late turnaround.

James Anderson, second from left, impressed on a flat wicket and picked four wickets to spark a collapse in the middle of Sri Lanka's innings. Tom Shaw/Getty Images
James Anderson, second from left, impressed on a flat wicket and picked four wickets to spark a collapse in the middle of Sri Lanka's innings. Tom Shaw/Getty Images

LONDON// Alastair Cook hailed his bowling attack after England almost snatched a dramatic last-gasp win over Sri Lanka in the first Test at Lord’s.

England agonisingly ran out of time, one wicket short of victory, as their new Test era began with a nerve-jangling stalemate.

James Anderson’s burst of three wickets for one run either side of tea helped keep the outcome in doubt to the last ball, as the tourists clung on at 201 for nine in notional pursuit of a ground-record 390.

Stuart Broad struck with the first ball of the final over, dismissing Rangana Herath for one, and thought he had won the Test match as Nuwan Pradeep was given out leg before with one delivery left.

But the review that followed showed the batsman had got a huge inside edge on the ball before it smashed into his pads.

“I can’t praise the lads enough today,” Cook said. “That was a flat wicket and we had to wait for the ball to reverse swing.

“It finally got dry enough and did, and Jimmy bowled really well.”

Despite the efforts of England’s pace attack, Cook said his side could have profited from the inclusion of a front-line spinner.

“The mainline spinner could have made a difference but with the players we have available for selection this is the way we have to go and that’s what we have to accept and I can’t praise the lads highly enough,” said Cook.

England batsman Joe Root, who was named man of the match for his first innings 200, believes that no one can now accuse Cook’s side of being boring.

“It was exciting, wasn’t it?” Root said. “Twelve months ago when we were told we’re playing dour cricket. I don’t think anyone can say that now.”

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was also impressed with England’s seamers.

“We didn’t bat well especially after tea,” he said.

“You can’t really relax and that’s a good lesson learnt with the attack they have.”