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Cook delighted by England character

Alastair Cook and Joe Root chatted after a thrilling finale to the Lord's Test

By Matt Somerford

England captain Alastair Cook was left breathless as his team fell agonisingly short of a dramatic victory in the first Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Last man Nuwan Pradeep barely survived the last five balls of the match to deny England victory by a solitary wicket.

It had appeared as though Stuart Broad had completed a stunning success when umpire Paul Reiffel adjudged Pradeep lbw from the penultimate delivery.

England celebrated, but Pradeep's almost instantaneous review revealed he had hit the ball before it thudded into his front pad.

The drama was not over, though, as Broad then found his edge from the final delivery but, as so often happened on a placid Lord's wicket during the match, the edge fell short of Chris Jordan in the slips.

"It was an incredible game of cricket - that's what Test cricket is about," Cook told ecb.co.uk.

"To go five days, all five days, and to come down to that last ball. For the nick not to carry summed up the wicket.

"It was a great effort from the lads. From one to 11 they can be very proud."

England's players were left wondering what might have been after they came within a wicket of winning a thrilling first Test at Lord's

Cook declared overnight to leave his side 90 overs to bowl out the Sri Lankans.

That the home side came so close to taking all 10 wickets relied on a match-turning three-wicket burst from James Anderson either side of tea.

England had managed just two wickets in the first 54 overs of the day, yet Anderson was able to prise out Sri Lanka's key duo - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene - in a spell that read 7-4-3-3.

Most significantly he prompted Sangakkara to chop on for 61 shortly after the tea break - the first of six evening-session wickets as England made their late surge.

"At tea you probably don't think we have a chance of doing it," Cook said.

"To get Sangakkara out, we knew we could put a lot of pressure on their lower order and we did that.

"We just didn't quite have enough time."

Cook was full of praise for all his bowlers, after they toiled away in the difficult conditions: "(It was an) outstanding bowling attack in this game on a really unresponsive wicket.

"It probably almost suited Sri Lanka more than us in terms of the lack of pace in it. That didn't stop them running in and it didn't stop them trying."

After coming so close to victory with three debutants in the team Joe Root believes England will travel to Headingley in good spirit

Joe Root was named man of the match after his maiden Test double-century in the first innings allowed England to boss the match for the majority.

With the Test series now turning to his home ground at Headingley, the Yorkshireman believes England can take plenty of positives from a game in which they handed debuts to Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan and Sam Robson while Gary Ballance hit a ton in his second match.

"It was carnage towards the end there," Root said.

"It was really exciting. You wouldn't really ask for anyone else to be bowling it (the last over).

"Broady loves that sort of occasion and he gave the crowd something to cheer about and it could have been so different.

"It was exciting to see guys come in as well like Chris Jordan, Moeen Ali and for them to perform on debut is exceptional. Gary Ballance as well, in the second innings, scored a massive hundred under a lot of pressure batting at three for the first time.

"It's really exciting go into the rest of the summer."

Root expects a happy homecoming in Leeds when the second Test begins on Friday, with Yorkshire team-mates Ballance and Liam Plunkett set to play alongside him.

"It's very exciting for me, Gary and Liam especially to go back to Headingley," he said.

"(It will be a) home crowd, I'm sure they'll be rowdy as you'd expect them to be and right behind us, especially after that."

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