Sri Lanka and England have a varied history in cricket, with neither side having kept an enormous winning streak against each other since their first clash in 1982. With time, this rivalry has given sporting fans memorable moments to cherish in the longest format.
As far as the head-to-head record is concerned, England have won 15 of their 34 encounters with Sri Lanka while the erstwhile cricket giants have claimed eight victories.
Here are three memorable finishes from the past Sri Lanka - England Test matches.
2014 England vs Sri Lanka 1st Test: Odds-defying draw at Lord’s
Sri Lanka, who had registered wins in the ODI and T20I series, began the Test series by bowling first. Unbeknownst to them, Joe Root marshalled the England batting at the Lord’s cricket ground and became the third-youngest player to hit a double century at the iconic venue.
Youngest to score 200 at Lord's:— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) June 13, 2014
Don Bradman 21y 304d
Graeme Smith 22y 180d
Joe Root 23y 164d
*Age at start of match
As a fightback, Shaminda Eranga reworked his performance in the first innings and reduced 46/0 to 69/3 when the hosts returned to bat in the second innings. He found support in Rangana Herath, who claimed four wickets and helped the visitors attain a target of 390 to chase.
They say the best is saved for the last, and the final day of the 1st Test had plenty of scenarios that made the fixture a memorable encounter in Tests at Lord’s. Sri Lanka needed to bat for three sessions to draw the match and began the final session after putting up 159/3 in 56 overs.
England scalped six wickets in that session and were in high spirits when umpire Paul Reiffel signalled Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Pradeep out. A smart DRS call from Pradeep overturned the lbw decision on the game’s penultimate ball and helped the Lankan Lions pull off one of the landmark results ever registered at the Mecca of cricket.
2014 England vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test: Last-over thriller
If the drama at the Lord’s wasn’t enough, the second England-Sri Lanka Test at Headingley is by far one of the most significant fixtures played between the cricket giants.
Stuart Broad’s hat-trick and Liam Plunkett’s maiden five-wicket haul reduced Sri Lanka to 257 all out on day one, thus giving England a much-needed breather into the series after their debacle at Lord’s.
Riding on Sam Robson’s 127, England posted a first-innings total of 365, but their confidence levels started dropping after visiting captain Angelo Mathews powered Sri Lanka from 268/4 to 457. Stitching a 149-run partnership with Rangana Herath, Mathews helped Lanka set 350 runs for England to chase.
In his first (and only) Test on English soil, Dhammika Prasad bagged four of the first five wickets that saw England finish day four at 57/5. England hit 26 runs before going early into lunch on day five, with Joe Root facing a whopping 108 deliveries for his score of 31.
#OnThisDay in 2014, Sri Lanka won a Test with a ball to spare in Headingley 🤯— ICC (@ICC) June 24, 2020
James Anderson's 55-ball vigil was ended by Shaminda Eranga on the penultimate ball of the match.
🇱🇰 took the series 1-0 after having saved the first game at Lord's in similar circumstances 👏 pic.twitter.com/6z3nSEuZdH
There onwards, the hosts had to depend on Moenn Ali to script a miracle at. His maiden Test century went in vain as Shaminda Eranga, a hero in the first Test, dismissed James Anderson with the penultimate ball of the match and gift Sri Lanka their first-ever Test series win in England. Anderson survived the first four balls of the final over before giving away his wicket at backward square.
2018 Sri Lanka vs England 3rd Test: Redemption for 2014 tour
Four years on from a disheartening tour at home, England exacted revenge on Sri Lanka by winning all series in their 2018 visit to the island country. As far as the third Test match is concerned, the Three Lions registered their smallest victory over Sri Lanka in terms of runs (42).
England’s call to bat first was a relatively fair decision, as they fended off a five-wicket haul by off-spinner Lakshan Sandakan to put up 336 on the scoreboard. Adil Rashid took five wickets on day two as the Sri Lankan batting order collapsed to 240 all out within 65.5 overs.
When the visitors came out to bat, they slammed 11 boundaries in their score of 230, which was a slight mellow performance considering they already piled up pressure on Sri Lanka to chase 327 runs, to avoid a whitewash result.
Sri Lanka lost their faint hopes of a comeback as they were reduced to 82/5 by the 27th over of the run chase, and needed some inspiration from Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva. However, Mendis’ dismissal signalled the beginning of celebrations for England as they bowled out Sri Lanka for 284 and sealed their first 3-0 whitewash away from home since 1963.