Sri Lanka held on for a draw on a thrilling final day of the first Investec Test match at Lord’s, as an England side inspired by James Anderson and Stuart Broad fell one wicket short of victory.
Broad thought he had won the Test from the penultimate ball of the match when Umpire Paul Reiffel gave number XI Nuwan Pradeep out LBW.
But the batsman reviewed the decision instantly, and replays showed he had clearly inside edged the ball onto his pads.
Broad then found his outside edge from the final ball of a dramatic finale to the Test, but it landed agonisingly just short of Chris Jordan at second slip to leave Sri Lanka on 201/9.
It was so close to the perfect final over from Broad, which began with two wickets still left for England to take, but got off to the perfect start when Rangana Herath was caught down the leg side off a short ball.
Herath walked straight away, despite replays showing that his hand had been off the handle of the bat when he made contact with the ball and Sri Lanka having reviews remaining.
They were grateful for those three balls later though, as Pradeep survived the penultimate ball to take the series to Headingley later this week level at 0-0.
A draw had looked the only logical result just before Tea, as Sri Lanka progressed fairly comfortably to 159/2 with Kumar Sangakkara continuing his fine form from the first innings.
He had put on 98 for the second wicket with Kushal Sliva – who made his second half century of the match – and with fellow all-time great Mahela Jayawardene at the crease, England were beginning to look a bit stuck for ideas on a pitch still playing well.
But England’s talisman Anderson found the outside edge of Jayawardene’s bat just before the interval, then brought the game completely to life shortly after the break as the murky, overcast conditions began to favour seam bowling.
First Sangakkara chopped onto his stumps for 61, then Lahiru Thirimanne edged through to Jordan at second slip to make it 170/5 and very much game on.
England were again frustrated though by a dogged partnership between captain Angelo Mathews and ‘keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who was batting with a bruised hand which will keep him out of the second Test.
They lasted 20.1 overs for a stand of 24, only for Jayawardene to depart to the last ball of the 79th over, trapped LBW to Jordan - Alastair Cook correctly deciding to review the original not out decision.
With the new ball taken shortly afterwards, England ran in with renewed energy for the final ten overs and Broad got in on the act, trapping Nuwan Kulasekera in front a short while later.
Mathews stood firm and looked on course to steer his side home, but when Anderson had him caught at first slip, England were just two wickets away.
Broad was replaced by Plunkett with three overs remaining in an attempt to unsettle Herath, but he bowled an average over, as the tourists snuck closer to survival.
Anderson, simply magnificent in recording figures of 4/25 in 19 overs, went close but not quite close enough in the penultimate over to leave Broad with a unenvious task of taking two wickets from the final six balls – which he only narrowly failed to pull off.
Day five photos