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

Cook heard Pradeep inside edge


While his team launched into a celebratory huddle, Alastair Cook knew what he had heard. The edge from Nuwan Pradeep into his pad, which Paul Reiffel missed, was big enough for Cook to pick it from slip. A few moments later the DRS confirmed that what, for seconds, was a Test victory had been snatched away from them.

Then, to add to the agony for the England captain, he watched the last ball of the Test fall agonisingly short of second slip. Stuart Broad fell to his knees and the slips stood motionless until the handshakes started.

"I didn't really move too far from my bar stool at first slip," Cook said. "I did think he nicked it but they everyone started saying it was two pads, so I kind of got excited. But it was a big noise."

He had a wry smile when it was put to him that the decision was vindication of the DRS, a system that England have always been a supporter of and that, last year, England were grateful for when it confirmed Brad Haddin out at Trent Bridge to secure a 14-run win. "Yeah," he said, with the hint of a laugh. "I've always been a big fan of it, it's to stop the howler and unfortunately that was a big inside edge. It's gutting to take at that time.

"But there was the lbw before the new ball from Chris Jordan which was overturned because it was the right decision. As players you want the right decision, even if it's not great at this precise moment in time when it's taken a Test win away but it was the right decision."

The fact England reached the final over needing two wickets for victory, which became one when Broad had Rangana Herath gloving down the leg side - although replays showed Herath's glove was off the bat - was testament to some tireless work either side of tea, sparked by James Anderson's removal of Mahela Jayawardene during a wonderful spell of reverse swing, and then a powerful burst with the new ball which reduced Sri Lanka from 159 for 2 with the game seemingly dead.

"At tea it looked quite a long way away but when you get so close and then get a decision which wins you a Test overturned it's quite hard to take," Cook said. "But it was a great Test, that's what it's about, to go all the way down to the wire and for both sides to leave nothing out there."

Cook showed invention in the field during the match, although largely in the final session after England waited desperately for the ball to reverse, but acknowledged that an 8-1 field which appeared after tea - including a circle of close catchers on the off side - had been the work of Anderson. "I wish I could take credit, but I can't." he said.

With England coming so close to victory there will inevitably be further debate of Cook's declaration which came before play on the final morning rather than late on the fourth day to give his quicks an early dart with new ball.

Cook said the batting collapse on Sunday afternoon - which left them 121 for 6, a lead of 243 - had cost them valuable time, meaning they could not accelerate until the closing overs. In the end, England made 59 runs in seven overs - which included Ballance reaching his maiden hundred with a six - although there remained an argument that the foot could have been put on the throttle when the lead passed 300.

"If you'd declared at 330-340 on that wicket it would have been a very fair chase," Cook said. "At 100 for 1 at lunch, 320 would have looked a very short total. The four wickets just after lunch cost us without shadow of a doubt and give Sri Lanka credit there. We tried to play positively to give us a chance of declaring that night but they made it difficult for us."

There were also 17 overs lost in the match due to slow over-rates, six of those on the day England were in the field throughout on Saturday, and speaking to Sky Sports Cook admitted that had not been ideal.

But he was delighted with the way his team played throughout the Test, their first outing in the format since the conclusion of the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia. Only five players from Sydney remained, but most of the new or recalled players produced significant roles in the match.

"We've made quite a lot of the running in this Test. To lose the toss, be put in and make 580 you have a great chance," he said. "We were ahead throughout the game so can take a lot from that.

"We scored at a really good rate. If we'd gone at three runs an over we wouldn't have been in that position with a chance to win. Joe Root was outstanding with a double and Gary Ballance showed his class at international level, not many people have seen it and it will be great for his confidence from a tricky position at No. 3. All the new guys came in and made an impact."

It will be the same players travelling up to Headingley after an unchanged squad was confirmed, the playing XI plus Chris Woakes, but it is unlikely that Woakes will push himself into the side. There was a suggestion that Broad may have been suffering a niggle towards the end of the match, when he was replaced by Liam Plunkett for one over, but Cook said it had just been a hunch. It was a hunch that did not quite work.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonathan on June 18, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    "I did think he nicked it but they everyone started saying it was two pads, so I kind of got excited. But it was a big noise."

    What was that you were saying about the spirit of the game again? I'm not sure I could hear it over the noise of that edge.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 3:23 GMT


    The Umps were biased from the 1st game of the tour and made several matches 'appear' close and thanks to DRS, SOME of them were overturned. However, many of them were 'Umpire's call' and reviewing seemed ineffective as the Umps gave the benefit of the doubt to the batsmen when SL bowled and to the bowlers when ENG bowled. Matt Prior was given lives in both innings and played a huge part in England's massive 1st innings total but fortunately his 2nd innings' 'Umpire's call' didn't cost SL as much.

    SL were way too defensive and kudos to ENG for pouncing on that mistake. SL batted well until Lunch (99-1) and Tea (164-3 with Sanga in) and all of a sudden went into a shell and ENG took the chance.

    What a match, though!!! When Herath walked off when he wasn't out I thought that was it but Pradeep you beauty!! Was calm and did well for a tail-ender!

    Main thing is SL must start cleaning up the tail a lot quicker.

    Cricket and DRS were the winners.

  • Mohammed on June 17, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    @godshand: Do you use computes, calculators etc? Have you bought gas stoves, refregerators or you still cook food with bricks and use water for cooling? Earlier generation did not have all those, hence they never got a chance to use. I think this much should be enough and no need to go deeper and further, for all the people against DRS. I am Indian by the way.

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    @godshand Your example is like choosing typewriters over computers.

  • Sandeep on June 17, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    If Cook heard pradeep's inside edge, why did he appeal? Is that not against the 'spirit' of the game? When he made so much noise about the buttler incident, which by the way was out as per rules of the game, surely he could have done the decent thing and withdrawn the appeal instead of waiting for drs and upheld the 'spirit' of the game that he is so renowned for!

  • duminda on June 17, 2014, 17:21 GMT

    Who would say test cricket is boring. This is a cracker of a game.its went to d wire.test cricket is at its best what a feeling as a cricket fan,you could not ask better than this?some how icc need to work on Umpiring training.It is necessary to keep top performing umpires in Elite panel and please remove ordinary performers as they could hurts sprit as well as such interest of this wonderful game.we need to have this type of cricket matches so looking forward hopefully....

  • Robert on June 17, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    Anyone who has played cricket at any decent standard can not only hear but see an inside edge. That one was obvious. The players are kidding no one with their coyness on these decisions.

    England were rightfully punished twice for their tardy over rate - they would have won (easily) if they had bowled their overs at 15 an hour.

  • Amrutur on June 17, 2014, 16:42 GMT

    There is so much talk about DRS, umpiring in the last over was atrocious. It seems average umpires get caught up in biases towards the home side, and about who should win? A good umpire would have called Herath back after checking upstairs; forget about the next call.

  • Nitin on June 17, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    For those critising India, let's understand that if decisions are to be referred to DRS then what's the point of having umpires in the first place. A counter can count the bowl, the screen can check if there is an over stepping or clean catch taken etc. DRS might give better accuracy but did we have that in the era of Dicky Birds and David Shepherds. Didn't games go on well in those times without too much reliance on Technology !!!

  • Rupert on June 17, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Paul_Garcia Herath walked as he didn't know the rules. Mathews admitted that in a post match interview and said that the team including himself learns new rules everyday.

  • No featured comments at the moment.