|Sri Lanka players celebrate their victory,
in Leeds, on Tuesday. (Getty Images)
Leeds: Moeen Ali’s grit and determination almost saved it for England. James Anderson’s doggedness, too, came close to doing so.
But in the end, a snorter from Shaminda Eranga ended their resistance as Sri Lanka registered a dramatic victory to win the second and final Test by 100 runs with a ball to spare, thereby pocketing the series, at the Headingley on Tuesday.
Moeen’s 108 not out was one of the finest knocks by an Englishman under such circumstances. Anderson, despite not being able to open his account, played out 54 balls that was as good as pulling off a draw for the hosts.
But that wasn’t to be as Eranga struck in the penultimate ball of the series to hand the Sri Lankans a rare series win in England.
Earlier, Sri Lanka saw off Joe Root and removed Matt Prior too to make matters easier. Together with Moeen, Root kept Sri Lanka at bay for more than two hours Tuesday until Nuwan Pradeep made the breakthrough.
Root, looking to turn a full-length delivery legside, got an outside edge off Pradeep and was caught in the gully by Lahiru Thirimanne for 31.
Prior, who in Auckland last year took England to an unlikely draw by repelling New Zealand for 54 overs, had made 10 when he was undone by a rising delivery from Prasad that took the handle of the bat and was well caught at short leg by Kaushal Silva.
However, umpire Billy Bowden asked third umpire Paul Reiffel to check for a no-ball.
It was a desperately close call but the former Australia seamer ruled in Sri Lanka’s favour and England were 160 for seven with the 31-year-old Prasad able to celebrate taking five wickets in a Test innings for the first time.
Perhaps frustrated by the lack of a breakthrough, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews exchanged words with Root and umpire Billy Bowden was forced to intervene.