England's Jimmy Anderson fell to the penultimate ball of the match as England were beaten by 100 runs against Sri Lanka in the deciding Test match of the series at Headingley.
England gamely battled during the day's play only to see their good work finally come to an end in agonising circumstances at the end of the match as they were bowled out for 249.
England fought bravely
Chasing an improbable 350 for victory England, and particularly Moeen Ali, gave their all. They were never likely to reach their winning total but certainly stood a chance of a draw that would have ensured the series ended all-square after their draw at Lords in the first match.
Sri Lanka were chasing a first series victory in England and gave it everything on a final day that was a great advert for Test cricket. The day had tension, controversy and drama and the sparse crowd at Headingley were treated to intriguing passages of play which had them on the edge of their seats, particularly during the latter stages.
Resuming overnight on 57-5 not many onlookers gave England a chance of batting out the day but they showed some true grit and determination to defy the visitors for long periods. Joe Root and Moeen Ali survived a rain interrupted first session unscathed which gave England hope. However, once Root was dismissed for a very patient 31 after lunch, and Matt Prior, falling again to short-pitched bowling, fell for just 10, England looked to be in serious trouble.
Matt Prior's dismissal was surrounded in controversy though as replays seemed to show a no-ball from Dhammika Prasad but, despite a review to the third umpire, he was still given out to give the Sri Lankan paceman his five-wicket haul.
Chris Jordan supported Ali with a partnership of 52 for the eighth wicket but once he and Broad were dismissed by Herath England were staring defeat in the face.
Jimmy Anderson came to the crease and not only did he survive nearly everything Sri Lanka could throw at him he was also able to guide Moeen Ali through to a thoroughly deserved maiden Test match century.
Two balls remaining
When Anderson was finally out, fending a short ball to Herath from Eranga, he had faced a total of 55 balls, in 20 overs, without scoring and was left slumped over his bat at the end contemplating how close he had taken his side to what would have been an improbable draw at the start of play.
Ali deserves a special mention for his unbeaten 108 from 281 balls as he batted throughout the day and his innings was a notable plus point for England during the match.
Unfortunately for the England hierarchy there are still many questions to be answered and the
pressure on captain Alastair Cook is mounting due to his own lack of form and criticism of his captaincy.
Peter Moores will also be disappointed that his first series back in charge of the England side has ended in defeat. However, they will point to some impressive performances from individuals over the two matches but these performances must ultimately lead to victories for the team.
England must now re-group quickly as they face a stern test when they take on India in a five Test series starting at Trent Bridge on the 9th July.
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