Mathews proud of Pradeep defiance

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Captain Angelo Matthews heralded the determination of tail-ender Nuwan Pradeep, after Sri Lanka forced a draw late on day five of the first Test against England on Sunday.

Captain Angelo Matthews heralded the determination of tail-ender Nuwan Pradeep, after Sri Lanka forced a draw late on day five of the first Test against England on Sunday.

The defiant Pradeep survived a nervy five deliveries, bowled by seamer Stuart Broad, to ensure the series opener at Lord's in London ended in a thrilling stalemate.

The final two balls of the fixture were particularly anxious, with the number 11 batsman requiring a review to overturn an lbw decision before almost holing out to the slip cordon.

"All Pradeep said to me was, 'Don't worry, I'm going to hold on. If they bowl short at me I'm just going to leave it'," said Mathews. "That was very encouraging from the tail-ender.

"I actually thought he did that exact thing. When they went for the lbw, we were not confident, because we couldn't see from behind. But he was pretty confident that he hit it.

"It wasn't the easiest time for Pradeep to go and bat, and to review the decision was also a brave effort. In that tense situation, your mind goes blank sometimes. It's always good to review it and luckily we used it. We hung in there."

The tourists, in the face of an unlikely 390-run target, had earlier moved to a promising 159 for two. A middle-order collapse, however, soon saw the total slip to 199 for seven.

Broad and fellow right-arm fast bowlers James Anderson and Chris Jordan were outstanding during the post-tea session, with Anderson the pick of the bunch on the back of final figures of four for 25.

"I thought we batted poorly after tea especially. The bowlers came and gave one last effort, and we fell for that. I thought Anderson bowled really well. Their seamers bowled hard and asked questions from our batters but we couldn't really handle it after tea. It shouldn't have got close," added Mathews.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Prasanna Jayawardene, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the final Test at Headingley in Leeds due to a finger injury. The inexperienced Kithruwan Vithanage has since been added to the squad as a replacement.

"It was a great effort from our lower middle-order. Rangana Herath did well, and so did Prasanna, with a broken finger. He had had painkiller injections to keep going. It was a good effort in the end, but after tea we were too relaxed," concluded Mathews.

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