England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day June 24, 2014

Moeen shines amid rubble

It should not obscure the failures that led to England's defeat but Moeen Ali showed his talent and his temperament with a wonderful maiden Test century
33

Play 01:48
'We lost because of one bad day' - Cook

When Andy Flower warned after the Ashes that there may be more pain for England before things improved, it was days like this he had in mind.

Defeated for the first time at home in a multi-Test series by Sri Lanka, England have fallen two places to fifth in the Test rankings and, for the first time since 1996-97, when they were unable to defeat India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and New Zealand, have gone eight Tests in succession without a victory. James Anderson's tears after his dismissal summed up the general mood of the England camp. All the fight and hope had come to nothing.

There are unlikely to be repercussions in the short-term. England already have a new managing director, a new coach and a new chairman of selectors. They are not looking for a new captain as well.

There was always an understanding that this team was at the start of a long rebuilding phase. They may even consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to come up against a highly motivated Sri Lanka side containing two great players and several very good ones in their first Test series. This new dawn in English cricket was never likely to be full of rainbows and balloons.

Even if England had escaped with a draw, it should not have obscured the problems. It should not have obscured their poor catching, which has been an issue since the home series against South Africa in 2012, or the complacency with the bat that saw them squander a match-defining position in their first innings. It should not have obscured the weariness which seems to consume James Anderson and Stuart Broad worryingly often these days and it should not have obscured the poor form of a couple of England's senior players.

Most of all, it should not have obscured the manner in which England looked adrift in the field on the fourth day, or their problems with the short ball on the fifth.

While it was understandable to see England struggle against the pace and hostility of Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes, it was a surprise to see them struggle against the short ball from Dhammika Prasad. Admirably though Prasad bowled, there are many quicker and more hostile bowlers in world cricket. If batsmen cannot handle this in England, they are in serious trouble the next time they play Australia or South Africa. The fact that their ability against spin is also a weakness does not bode well.

Perhaps that Ashes experience is relevant. Perhaps several of those exposed to Johnson's bombardment have lost a bit of confidence against the short ball. While it is Jonathan Trott who is generally considered to have developed an issue with the delivery, the manner in which Matt Prior and Joe Root, in particular, struggled here, did raise the question as to whether they were suffering from some sort of shellshock after their experience in Australia. Prior was caught at short leg fending off one bouncer; Root was hit on the head and body by other short balls.

But, although it will not seem it right now, there were glimmers of gold amid the rubble of this defeat. The fact that Moeen Ali, Sam Robson and Gary Ballance were able to register centuries in their second Tests suggests all three could go on to play valuable roles at this level. Equally, the performance of Liam Plunkett and Chris Jordan, at least in parts, suggested England are beginning to assemble a group of seamers that could serve them well for a few years.

The fact that they demonstrated admirable fight on the final day, too, suggests there remains some spirit and resilience in the dressing room. Had they survived two more balls, it would have been record-breaking resistance: no team has gone into an uninterrupted final day (in terms of overs) with five wickets down and secured a draw.

On the final day, it was Moeen who stuck out. While more experienced colleagues faltered and failed, Moeen was calm and composed. While more experienced colleagues poked and prodded, Moeen ducked and left the ball with the experience of a 100-Test veteran. That he remained elegant and languid even in the tension of the last hour only increased the admiration for his innings. He even had the backbone to tell Stuart Broad not to squander a review when he was adjudged lbw. He deserved a better ending.

On a ground that has not, historically, been the most open-minded, a proud British Muslim earned a standing ovation of real warmth and appreciation

His bowling probably deserves more credit, too. In this match Moeen, despite bowling in the first and third innings against a side expert in playing spin, claimed two top-order wickets from his 24 overs. When you compare that to the figures of Rangana Herath, a spinner now accepted as a world-class performer who was bowling on a fifth-day pitch, they do not seem so bad: Herath bowled 67 overs and claimed only one more wicket than Moeen. All three of them were tailenders.

Moeen has long been destined for great things. He made a half-century on his first-class debut as a 17-year-old and then went on to captain England U-19s with some success.

But he lost his way for a while. Four or five years ago, he looked horribly uneasy against the short ball. Then, two or three years ago, experimenting with a stance like Chanderpaul and losing all sense of where his off stump was, he was caught in the slips so often that he went through a patch of leaving straight balls that bowled him. He admitted he thought this day might never come.

So to see him ducking or defending the bouncers with ease, to see him leaving with expert judgement, to see him reining in those natural instincts to lace the ball through the covers, was testament not just to his hard work but Worcestershire's faith. Other teams would have dropped him, but Worcestershire took the long-term view and understood that, if they had faith, it would be repaid many times over. England might benefit from the same attitude now.

There is a wider context, too. As a proud and visible British Muslim, Moeen has a role to play - a role he relishes - in building bridges between communities that have sometimes lacked trust in one another. He has a role to play in encouraging involvement from young players in communities that have not always felt included among the 'stakeholders' of English cricket and he has a role to play in helping the England side reflect the society it is meant to represent, not just part of it.

And that is a society that is not just white and middle-class and privately educated; it is not just a society where cricket is played on the village green by the church. It is also a society that lives in the inner-cities, that attends the state schools; it is a society where cricket is also a game played in the streets and parks near the mosque.

On a ground that has not, historically, been the most open-minded, a proud British Muslim earned a standing ovation of real warmth and appreciation. It was not always like this. On that front, at least, this was a special day for English cricket.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 26, 2014, 20:11 GMT

    Ali batted really well in the last day yet its too early to predict how he goes, Ajantha Mendis also started his career with a bang and now he's not in the team, Indian fast bowlers will be easy to handle yet the real challenge comes from Ashwin and Jadeja

  • jimbond on June 26, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Unless something has dramatically changed in Plunkett in the past one year, he is not the pace-man that England has been looking for. In fact the fact that England has fallen back on Plunkett - itself shows how much the shelves are depleted. If Moen does improve as a batsman and justifies his place in the side, its a good sign, because he does not exactly fit in as a bowler. India may be slightly easier meat than Sri Lanka - especially in terms of bowling (batting wise, India may be slightly better than Sri Lanka).

  • on June 25, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    Moeen Ali is one of the future's legends in cricket......

  • Dafffid on June 25, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Wonderful to see Ali do well, deserves a long run in the side. But I fear the success of England's younger batsmen will only incline them to reinforce their basic selection errors. Including extra batsmen to compensate for Cook's failures leaves their bowling short, and their failure to dispatch Sri Lanka quickly in their 2nd innings cost them, as it has many times before. If the talk to bring back Stokes in place of Jordan is correct, the situation will only get worse. Stokes is a fantastic talent and a genuine top 6 batsman, but Jordan's the better bowler. Anderson and Broad look exhausted half the time, and do England really need Prior batting at 8? The solution is to leave out a batsman - and on the face of it, that's got to be Cook.

  • on June 25, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    What a superb article this is...great. Eng might have lost the match but the resistance of moeen and jimmy towards the last hour is highly admirable. Both these guys won people's heart . Great match overall...Eng middle order vows are sorted out now with the arrival of moeen in the team.! cheers.

  • dharshanf on June 25, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    Mr. ALi I am Sri Lankan. You certainly dont deserve to be on the loosing side. While watching the last over here in Colombo Sri Lanka, I was awe struck at the penultimate ball. Winning was great! But you sir to me was the star of show. You played the best innings I have ever seen. You will be a great cricketer. Just stay focused. World cricket needs you!

  • penagamuri on June 25, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    English Cricket, Congratulations you have just unearthed a classy player in Moen Ali. He reminds me of Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, Very elegant, Languid and pleasing on the eye. I would be rooting for his success even when India is playing England.

  • opening__quick on June 25, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Moeen is class! Has been brilliant at Worcs for several years now.... Elegant and composed century in his second test and people still criticise. As an Englishman it hurts to admit that English fans are awful. Only sing when they're winning. And when they have a reasons to cheer (as with Moeen) they still find petty reasons to shoot the guy down....

  • on June 25, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    Dont you fret English fans-Dhoni and company has landed. Cook will be in form Plunkett will clean clocks of most indians other Kohli and Pujara.

  • John-Price on June 25, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    All praise for Moeen fully deserved. One small quibble with the article - he was never in danger of being dropped by Worcs - even when playing badly, he was better than most.

  • on June 26, 2014, 20:11 GMT

    Ali batted really well in the last day yet its too early to predict how he goes, Ajantha Mendis also started his career with a bang and now he's not in the team, Indian fast bowlers will be easy to handle yet the real challenge comes from Ashwin and Jadeja

  • jimbond on June 26, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Unless something has dramatically changed in Plunkett in the past one year, he is not the pace-man that England has been looking for. In fact the fact that England has fallen back on Plunkett - itself shows how much the shelves are depleted. If Moen does improve as a batsman and justifies his place in the side, its a good sign, because he does not exactly fit in as a bowler. India may be slightly easier meat than Sri Lanka - especially in terms of bowling (batting wise, India may be slightly better than Sri Lanka).

  • on June 25, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    Moeen Ali is one of the future's legends in cricket......

  • Dafffid on June 25, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Wonderful to see Ali do well, deserves a long run in the side. But I fear the success of England's younger batsmen will only incline them to reinforce their basic selection errors. Including extra batsmen to compensate for Cook's failures leaves their bowling short, and their failure to dispatch Sri Lanka quickly in their 2nd innings cost them, as it has many times before. If the talk to bring back Stokes in place of Jordan is correct, the situation will only get worse. Stokes is a fantastic talent and a genuine top 6 batsman, but Jordan's the better bowler. Anderson and Broad look exhausted half the time, and do England really need Prior batting at 8? The solution is to leave out a batsman - and on the face of it, that's got to be Cook.

  • on June 25, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    What a superb article this is...great. Eng might have lost the match but the resistance of moeen and jimmy towards the last hour is highly admirable. Both these guys won people's heart . Great match overall...Eng middle order vows are sorted out now with the arrival of moeen in the team.! cheers.

  • dharshanf on June 25, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    Mr. ALi I am Sri Lankan. You certainly dont deserve to be on the loosing side. While watching the last over here in Colombo Sri Lanka, I was awe struck at the penultimate ball. Winning was great! But you sir to me was the star of show. You played the best innings I have ever seen. You will be a great cricketer. Just stay focused. World cricket needs you!

  • penagamuri on June 25, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    English Cricket, Congratulations you have just unearthed a classy player in Moen Ali. He reminds me of Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, Very elegant, Languid and pleasing on the eye. I would be rooting for his success even when India is playing England.

  • opening__quick on June 25, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Moeen is class! Has been brilliant at Worcs for several years now.... Elegant and composed century in his second test and people still criticise. As an Englishman it hurts to admit that English fans are awful. Only sing when they're winning. And when they have a reasons to cheer (as with Moeen) they still find petty reasons to shoot the guy down....

  • on June 25, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    Dont you fret English fans-Dhoni and company has landed. Cook will be in form Plunkett will clean clocks of most indians other Kohli and Pujara.

  • John-Price on June 25, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    All praise for Moeen fully deserved. One small quibble with the article - he was never in danger of being dropped by Worcs - even when playing badly, he was better than most.

  • srinideva on June 25, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    I just admire the way he celebrated his First century in Test cricket. Put the team first attitude is superb from M Ali. Very rare thing in International cricket especially for an Indian cricket fan. We`re obsessed with Personal records..

  • Lmaotsetung on June 25, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    Very well put George. Lots of positive for Eng despite the setback and I for one did say I was ready for some growing pains. I have and never will question the heart of this group of players though and no matter how bleak the situation was after Day 4, after I had a chance to clear my mind overnight, the thought of a fighting draw did cross my mind while lying in bed and they came up 2 ball short. BRING ON INDIA!!!

  • Ross_Co on June 25, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Umm, "[England] may even consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to come up against a highly motivated Sri Lanka side", as opposed to who? Bangladesh? Hong Kong? With absolutely no disrespect meant to SL, they came into this series with (I think) only two pace bowlers averaging less than 50 & only one of those played in the test they won! All the talk from English pundits on this site post ashes apocalypse was how the weak subcontinental seam attacks on offer this English summer were going to allow 'England' to rebuild its confidence. Now apparently SL are the modern day equivalent of Clive Lloyd & Co. Five days ago we were hearing about "England's potent attack", this stuff just never let's up with England does it? Congratulations to SL, a superb & thoroughly deserved result for a team who played out of their skins for their country.

  • on June 25, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Rizwan u r spot on ..........New ball swings ........Similarly opening in ODI far tougher than slogging in the end

  • RakeshGPradhan on June 25, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    @xylo - you are completely wrong Moeen was picked as a front line batsman who bowls some spin. Look at his stats in county cricket they are hardly of someone who is a bowler.

  • Harlequin. on June 25, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    @RodStark - agreed, as Mr George says in the article, Moeen's bowling didn't look too out of place in this match and if he can develop it further then he will be a huge asset to England, huge.

    I think people have got too hung up on the 'part-time' label he was given before the series started and haven't looked closely enough at his bowling. Had a 'specialist' spinner come in, batted 10/11 and bowled the same as Moeen did then I think he would be getting a lot more leeway and pundits would be talking more about his potential than his weaknesses - like they are with Jordan who didn't exactly set the world alight with his seam bowling in this series but showed enough to be gladdened by.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 25, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    @SaifKhan90, I think Moeen is justifies selection as a batsman, and that hasn't changed, however I cant see him as a front line spinner, and that's the only criticism I have in regards to him, at best hes a part spinner like root and Kp before that.

  • Vaughanographic on June 25, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    I have given Ali tons of criticism. And I will gladly apologise for the criticism because he batted very well indeed. I wish people would concentrate on his batting rather than talking of his spin though - he is a top 6 batsman and yesterday he batted like one which is very good indeed!

  • Arif_Khan_Bangladeshi on June 25, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    Lol, at those negative people still finding ways to criticize Moeen. A player, who stood tall when everyone around him was crumbling under pressure. His innings gave pride and belief to the English side and he should be commended for playing the way he did. If Cook and the top order had done their job, Anderson and co wouldn't have to fight so hard just to save the test. Lastly, Moeen showed he is a team player unlike so called greats from other countries, when he slowed down during the 90's instead of going for glory.

  • Arif_Khan_Bangladeshi on June 25, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    xylo. Moeen was selected as a batsman who could bowl a bit. He is not a specialist bowler and certainly, not expected to stamp his authority with bowling with the few matches he has played so far. Try to give credit where it's due.

  • apsari on June 25, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    As much as Moeen's admirable knock almost saved England from what looked like an inevitable defeat at the end of day 4, his continuous exposure of the lower order to the Sri lankan bowlers' hungry for victory cannot be endorsed. If you looked at the way Mathews shielded the strike from Herath & Co. on the 4th day you would see the big difference in the approach by the 2 batsmen. Of course you cannot expect someone playing in only his 2nd test to bat the way Mathews did. But still I cant help thinking that Anderson faced far more deliveries than he should have considering the fact that there was an established top order bat at the other end. When Anderson came in to bat there were 120 odd balls still to be bowled. Anderson facing upto 54 deliveries out of this number which constitutes almost half the number available, amply demonstrates my point. At least he should have been spared the last over come what may, where eventually everything boils down to a climax. But I guess thats Cricket

  • fkhawaja on June 25, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    amazing batting by moen. i really dont understand people still critisizing him.... and his bowling was good . only if cook had used him properly and given more overs he would have done better with the ball too. the second last over was tight and there was no gaps in the field to get a single and anderson was batting so well there was no need to take any risk. it was an amazing fight by england .

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on June 25, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Moeen's batting was great. Yes it was a flat track against a modest but hardworking attack but he showed the senior guys, all who failed again, how to do it. That a county player can come in and show these senior players up surely points to the fact that it's time for more changes. Normal service has resumed @FFL.

  • xylo on June 25, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Praising Moeen Ali prematurely might be a huge mistake. Why conveniently forget that he was picked as an offspinner? His bowling returns were outright terrible. That he managed to gloss over his failures with the ball with an outstanding innings with the bat should mean that the management flubbed the role that they had in mind for him. I would compare this to Ashwin scoring in heaps against England in India (better than the famed Tendulkar), but coming up a cropper with the ball.

  • Arif_Khan_Bangladeshi on June 25, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    It was Cook's defensive captaincy which cost England the match.series. The team's body language and tactics are negative and it shows on the field. Let Bell take the rein and allow Cook to concentrate on his batting. Overall some positive from this tour for England but at home, they should be able to win. Anyway, kudos to Moen fighting hard and showing how easily England could have won, if they had played positively. Well done to SL team.

  • DC75 on June 25, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Agree with Herath-UK, I was expecting Moeen to shield Anderson from the last over of the day as SL would come with all guns firing for the last over. It would have been a draw had Moeen found a single and faced the last over. But well played Anderson, well played Moeen and well played well SL.

  • RodStark on June 25, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Beautifully expressed about Moeen. And as far as his bowling is concerned, unless England decide they have to pick Panesar, who is to say that he cannot develop into a first-choice spinner any worse than Kerrigan, Riley, or A.N. Other. If he could do so, we might find ourselves with the the best all-rounder in the world! Actually, I thought his bowling looked pretty good.

  • Madpashcrickers on June 24, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    With his dignified demeanour and a calm. composed mind - not to mention impressive and elegant batting talent and ability with the ball too - surely Moeen is a future England captain, especially with the best beard since W.G. Grace!

  • Sir_Francis on June 24, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Not all doom & gloom. England have some fine players still. The captain will get out of his slump. They've found some new, good batsmen. What they need is to identify the best catchers in County cricket and then pick the one(s) who look like they can bat at Test level. Anderson "seems" done. He's bowled a lot of overs in his career and did start young. I notice in County averages that guys like Onions are continually ignored. Maybe they should pick the best performed bowlers, rather than the tallest?

  • Herath-UK on June 24, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Moeen has played in Sri Lanka club cricket which has helped him obviously & it seems he played against Dhammika Prasad etc there. His innings was a good one but I think England camp is trying to over emphasize it to cover their bigger deficiencies. Also I'm not quite happy with the way he shielded the tail enders, if did at all. Leaving the full final over to poor Anderson was a grave grave mistake on his part. There was no enough effort from him in the penultimate over to cross over to other side, leaving that over a maiden looked like he wanted to escape blame for getting out.

  • Westmorlandia on June 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    Great to see him show such concentration and discipline, as in his first few innings that looked to be what he lacked a little of. He seemed effortlessly concentrated.

    The thing is, in test cricket you need to take this approach every time if you really want to dominate. You have to sell your wicket that dearly every time. Moeen reached a century without driving at balls wide outside off, and he can keep succeeding by keeping the shot in the locker and playing this way every time.

    He didn't even score that slowly (especially considering he was turning down singles as well).

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    Well done George. Sri Lanka are worthy winners. Their pace bowlers were almost as quick as Plunkett, hitting the high 80's often.

    Not Johnson-esque, but as fast as most other bowlers. The short pitched ball is all about line and pace - and in that they were as good as anyone below the pace of Morkel and Johnson. Moeen's deliveries getting registered as "Red Zone" in Sky's spin-o-meter thing. That seems to be set as around 2250RPM. Consistently a lot more revs on the ball than Herath, and landing them just as well. It's a credit to England (one of the few they deserve) that he was picked for this test. The last 100 I saw scored under this pressure to save a game, was Gooch's "handled the ball" 100 against Australia in 2003. Atherton summed it up with his chat to Cooke." You must have known he was good, but did you ever think he was THIS good"

    For all that Sri Lanka won, and deserved to win. A beating like this at home might be just the kick up the proverbial England need

  • rizwan1981 on June 24, 2014, 21:27 GMT

    Its easier to score a century from # 6 than at the top of the order - Robson's knock was superior in comparison to Ali's century - Similarly Sangakkara scored his runs at # 3 when the conditions were tougher than when Mathews scored his 2 centuries

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  • rizwan1981 on June 24, 2014, 21:27 GMT

    Its easier to score a century from # 6 than at the top of the order - Robson's knock was superior in comparison to Ali's century - Similarly Sangakkara scored his runs at # 3 when the conditions were tougher than when Mathews scored his 2 centuries

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    Well done George. Sri Lanka are worthy winners. Their pace bowlers were almost as quick as Plunkett, hitting the high 80's often.

    Not Johnson-esque, but as fast as most other bowlers. The short pitched ball is all about line and pace - and in that they were as good as anyone below the pace of Morkel and Johnson. Moeen's deliveries getting registered as "Red Zone" in Sky's spin-o-meter thing. That seems to be set as around 2250RPM. Consistently a lot more revs on the ball than Herath, and landing them just as well. It's a credit to England (one of the few they deserve) that he was picked for this test. The last 100 I saw scored under this pressure to save a game, was Gooch's "handled the ball" 100 against Australia in 2003. Atherton summed it up with his chat to Cooke." You must have known he was good, but did you ever think he was THIS good"

    For all that Sri Lanka won, and deserved to win. A beating like this at home might be just the kick up the proverbial England need

  • Westmorlandia on June 24, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    Great to see him show such concentration and discipline, as in his first few innings that looked to be what he lacked a little of. He seemed effortlessly concentrated.

    The thing is, in test cricket you need to take this approach every time if you really want to dominate. You have to sell your wicket that dearly every time. Moeen reached a century without driving at balls wide outside off, and he can keep succeeding by keeping the shot in the locker and playing this way every time.

    He didn't even score that slowly (especially considering he was turning down singles as well).

  • Herath-UK on June 24, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Moeen has played in Sri Lanka club cricket which has helped him obviously & it seems he played against Dhammika Prasad etc there. His innings was a good one but I think England camp is trying to over emphasize it to cover their bigger deficiencies. Also I'm not quite happy with the way he shielded the tail enders, if did at all. Leaving the full final over to poor Anderson was a grave grave mistake on his part. There was no enough effort from him in the penultimate over to cross over to other side, leaving that over a maiden looked like he wanted to escape blame for getting out.

  • Sir_Francis on June 24, 2014, 22:26 GMT

    Not all doom & gloom. England have some fine players still. The captain will get out of his slump. They've found some new, good batsmen. What they need is to identify the best catchers in County cricket and then pick the one(s) who look like they can bat at Test level. Anderson "seems" done. He's bowled a lot of overs in his career and did start young. I notice in County averages that guys like Onions are continually ignored. Maybe they should pick the best performed bowlers, rather than the tallest?

  • Madpashcrickers on June 24, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    With his dignified demeanour and a calm. composed mind - not to mention impressive and elegant batting talent and ability with the ball too - surely Moeen is a future England captain, especially with the best beard since W.G. Grace!

  • RodStark on June 25, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Beautifully expressed about Moeen. And as far as his bowling is concerned, unless England decide they have to pick Panesar, who is to say that he cannot develop into a first-choice spinner any worse than Kerrigan, Riley, or A.N. Other. If he could do so, we might find ourselves with the the best all-rounder in the world! Actually, I thought his bowling looked pretty good.

  • DC75 on June 25, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Agree with Herath-UK, I was expecting Moeen to shield Anderson from the last over of the day as SL would come with all guns firing for the last over. It would have been a draw had Moeen found a single and faced the last over. But well played Anderson, well played Moeen and well played well SL.

  • Arif_Khan_Bangladeshi on June 25, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    It was Cook's defensive captaincy which cost England the match.series. The team's body language and tactics are negative and it shows on the field. Let Bell take the rein and allow Cook to concentrate on his batting. Overall some positive from this tour for England but at home, they should be able to win. Anyway, kudos to Moen fighting hard and showing how easily England could have won, if they had played positively. Well done to SL team.

  • xylo on June 25, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    Praising Moeen Ali prematurely might be a huge mistake. Why conveniently forget that he was picked as an offspinner? His bowling returns were outright terrible. That he managed to gloss over his failures with the ball with an outstanding innings with the bat should mean that the management flubbed the role that they had in mind for him. I would compare this to Ashwin scoring in heaps against England in India (better than the famed Tendulkar), but coming up a cropper with the ball.