England v Sri Lanka, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day June 16, 2014

Pradeep was confident - Mathews


Nuwan Pradeep approached the last five balls of the match with confidence, as he walked out to deny Stuart Broad and England, his captain Angelo Mathews revealed after the match.

Pradeep swayed away from a bouncer first ball - avoiding a reprise of his hit wicket from the first innings - then played and missed at a back-of-a-length delivery, and fended the third one away towards point.

Next ball - the penultimate delivery of the match - raised a raucous appeal from the hosts, and the batsman was given out by Paul Reiffel, only for the decision to be immediately reviewed. Replays showed Pradeep got a big inside edge, and lived on. The final delivery was edged to slip, but it only reached the fielder on the bounce.

"All Pradeep said to me was, 'Don't worry, I'm going to hold on. If they bowl short at me I'm just going to leave it'." Mathews said of his exchange with Sri Lanka's No. 11 before he went out to bat. "That was very encouraging from the tail-ender. I actually thought he did that exact thing. When they went for the lbw, we were not confident, because we couldn't see from behind. But he was pretty confident that he hit it, and thank God that he did."

Pradeep's lbw decision was the second piece of drama in the over after Rangana Herath gloved a short ball to the wicketkeeper - but his hand had already come off the bat handle. Herath did not wait for the umpire's decision to begin walking back to the pavilion.

"I guess Rangana wasn't aware of the rules," Mathews said. "It's a lesson learned. We all now know that if it hits your hand and it's off the bat you're not out."

Pradeep showed presence of mind to call for the review, even as England celebrated around him. "It wasn't the easiest time for Pradeep to go and bat, and to review the decision was also a brave effort. In that tense situation, your mind goes blank sometimes. It's always good to review it and luckily we used it. We hung in there."

Mathews was less enamoured by Sri Lanka's collapse either side of tea. The visitors had eight wickets in hand with 36 overs to play in the day, but lost three quickly to James Anderson's reverse swing, and were under immense pressure in the final session.

Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene batted out 20 overs together, despite Jayawardene's severely bruised finger, before Rangana Herath faced 13 balls, until being dismissed.

"I thought we batted poorly after tea especially. The bowlers came and gave one last effort, and we fell for that. I thought Anderson bowled really well. Their seamers bowled hard and asked questions from our batters but we couldn't really handle it after tea. It shouldn't have got close.

"It was a great effort from our lower middle-order. Rangana Herath did well, and so did Prasanna, with a broken finger. He had had painkiller injections to keep going. It was a good effort in the end, but after tea we were too relaxed."

Alastair Cook faced some criticism for delaying his declaration, and Angelo Mathews said Sri Lanka were always unlikely to attempt chasing 390 on the final day.

"They could have declared earlier, maybe. Close to 400 runs to get on the last day is going to be a tough ask. The wicket was spinning a little bit, and it was playing up and down a little bit as well. We had to bat sensibly.

"We were going in a 50-50 mode. We wanted to bat till lunch, then tea, then see how we were. We were in a pretty bad situation after tea, and we couldn't do anything but go for the draw."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chatty on June 18, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    fazald: Shouldn't go too much by rankings. There isn't much difference between SL and India when they play abroad. If anything, SL are better. If India plays in the early season in England they would really struggle (except for Kohli, perhaps). Also, England are very different when they play at home. Shouldn't read too much in to the Ashes series.

  • Michael on June 17, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    Prasanna Jayawardena deserves a lot of credit for his courage and fighting spirit. Karunaratne is not a Test opener. Herath is not very smart. Pradeep Fernando gave it his best shot. England do not have a Test class spinner apart from Panesar. Much to play for at Headingly but England with their seam attack, hold the edge.

  • Fazal on June 17, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    My apologies. In my previous comment I should have said according to the test rankings India has a superior test team than Sri Lanka being ranked fourth to Sri Lanka's sixth. It remains to be seen how England would fair in their test series against India to find out how well they have recovered since the ashes whitewash.

  • Fazal on June 17, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    It was a great effort by England to almost snatch a victory in their first appearance since their 5-0 ashes whitewash without the services of Kevin Pietersen, Trott and Graeme Swan. All eyes were focussed on England's performance in this match and they have proved that they have some young talent in Root, Ballance and Moeen Ali as replacements. No doubt the ashes defeat has had a tremendous effect on the England team but it remains to be seen how they would fair in the Headingly test as well as in the test series against India who are far superior to England in the test rankings.

  • Crick on June 17, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    If the ball hits your hand and it's off the bat you're not out. if this is the rule, why Cook not reverse that disicion and let rangana to bat again? for the sake of spirit of the game? what spirit you are talking Mr. Cook?

  • Umer on June 17, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    Rangana Herath was the most relived player in the SL squad after the draw...

  • Suranga on June 17, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    SL Lanka cannot go to 2nd test with Walking wickets to Anderson and England. Thirimanne and Karunaratne not making any positive effect on SL team. Either they need to be a batting all rounder or stay on the bench if playing as pure batsmen. prasanna s injury breaks team structure. If prasanna was fit, SL could experiment chandimal as an opener and Kithruwan or dilruwan middle order all rounder. now only possible changes r chandimal instead of prasanna and kithruwan for thrimanne. vice captain or not he should learn from chandimal to give his place to some other person to shine.

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2014, 5:27 GMT

    its's sad to know ragana herath doesn't know the some important cricket rules when he playing for national team.

  • shen on June 17, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    england was the better team in the test match, but wasnt good enough to make a win out of it, i wish that the lankans will be able to develop some solid test players out of the youngsters, those that we could call dependable

  • Chatty on June 17, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    It was a great effort by SL to draw this game. But, I think they became too defensive in the second session. It is certainly very important to be cautious. But being over cautious enables to opposition to take complete control of the game. SL has had a habit of doing this over the last couple of years. I think it is not a good way to fight in the last inning of a test match.

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