Sri Lanka 1-1 England: Spin dominates but Kevin Pietersen secures draw in 2012 series
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 03/11/18 11:11am
It's more than six and a half years since England’s last Test series in Sri Lanka – and they arrived as the top-ranked side in the world.
Led by Andrew Strauss, the team had earned that status on the back of their resounding Ashes triumph in Australia, followed by a 4-0 series clean sweep against India during the summer of 2011.
But England's fortunes had begun to dip during recent months, having been subjected to a 3-0 whitewash themselves after being bamboozled by the spin of Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal in the United Arab Emirates.
The skipper was also struggling for form, having recorded just one century in his previous 46 Test innings ahead of the two-match series…
First Test, Galle: Sri Lanka 318 & 214 beat England 193 & 264 by 75 runs
England's batting let them down again as they succumbed to left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who took six wickets in each innings to clinch a 75-run victory for the home side.
Mahela Jayawardene's decision to bat first seemed to have backfired when Sri Lanka slumped to 15-3 - only for the captain to dig them out of trouble as he produced a masterful knock of 180 in their total of 318 all out, with James Anderson taking 5-72.
England floundered badly in reply and it was only thanks to Ian Bell's defiant 52, backed up by some strong support from the tail, that they mustered 193.
Sri Lanka's top order collapsed second time around, with Graeme Swann returning figures of 6-82 to give the visitors hope that they might end up chasing a target in the region of 250.
But it was the turn of the Sri Lankan tail to wag as wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 61, lifting their total to 214 and setting England what would have been a record 340 to win.
A typically gritty innings of 112 from Jonathan Trott kept them in the game as they reached 233-4 before Herath and fellow spinner Suraj Randiv (4-74) swept away the last six wickets for 31 runs.
Second Test, Colombo: England 460 & 97-2 beat Sri Lanka 275 & 278 by eight wickets
Jayawardene hit another ton and Herath collected another six-wicket haul - but this time it was England who claimed victory to square the two-match series.
The Sri Lanka skipper rescued his side again with 105, raising their first innings tally to 275 all out after Anderson (3-62) had removed the top three cheaply and Swann weighed in with 4-75.
On this occasion, England's batting performance was majestic, with Strauss (61) and Alastair Cook (94) laying the groundwork with a century stand before Kevin Pietersen took centre stage.
The England batsman smashed 151 at a little under a run a ball, dominating the Sri Lankan attack to secure his side a commanding first-innings lead of 185, despite Herath's figures of 6-133.
Jayawardene contributed another 64 to ensure that Sri Lanka wiped out those arrears, but Swann completed a 10-wicket haul for the match as the home side were bowled out for 278, leaving England to chase 94.
Despite losing two early wickets, Cook and Pietersen saw their side home with an unbroken stand of 66, the latter sealing England's triumph with an emphatic six over mid-wicket.
Watch the first Test between England and Sri Lanka live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4am on Tuesday.