Cricket

Sri Lanka hold out for draw

2011-06-07 19:45
Alastair Cook (File)
London - Alastair Cook scored his third century in four Test innings but England had to settle for a draw in the second match of their series against Sri Lanka at Lord's here on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka, set an imposing victory target of 343, finished on 127 for three with 15 overs left on the fifth and final day - the earliest the sides could agree on a draw.

This result left England 1-0 up heading into the third and final Test starting at the Rose Bowl on June 16.

The highest score ever made in the fourth innings to win a Test at Lord's is 344 for one, needing 342, by the West Indies against England in 1984.

There was never a realistic chance of Sri Lanka reaching a similar target, with the more immediate question whether they could avoid losing all 10 wickets in the 58 overs left when their second innings started.

Sri Lanka had, after all, been routed for just 82 in under 25 overs in Cardiff as England won the first Test by an innings and 14 runs.

But, on a typically good Lord's pitch, they held out with England frustrated as much by the 63 overs lost in the match to bad weather as by the tourists' batting.

England's hopes of a Cardiff repeat had been bolstered when Sri Lanka's acting captain Kumar Sangakkara (12), opening in place of injured skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, cut giant fast bowler Chris Tremlett to Eoin Morgan at backward point.

Sangakkara may have a Test average of over 56, but his exit continued a poor run of scores in England where his corresponding average is just above 26.

By contrast, Mahela Jayawardene's previous two Test's at Lord's had both yielded hundreds and the first innings of this match saw him make 49.

However, he could only manage 25 on Tuesday before edging an intended drive off a Stuart Broad outswinger to fourth slip, where Kevin Pietersen held a sharp diving catch.

Occasional medium-pacer Jonathan Trott gave England renewed hope when he had durable opener Tharanga Paranavitana lbw for 44 with only his ninth ball.

Sri Lanka were now 96 for three, with 25 overs left, but an England attack missing injured Ashes star James Anderson couldn't manage another wicket.

Thilan Samaraweera was 17 not out and Prasanna Jayawardene 12 not out.

Earlier, England made 335 for seven declared in a second innings featuring Cook's 106 and Ian Bell's 57 not out.

Left-handed opener Cook's century was his third in four Test innings following 189 against Australia in Sydney, 133 in Cardiff and 96 in the first innings of this match.

He was eventually stumped by Prasanna Jayawardene off impressive left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to end a five-half-hour innings.

Herath was the pick of Sri Lanka's attack with three for 87 in 24 overs.

England had resumed Tuesday on 149 for two, a lead of 156, with Cook 61 not out and Pietersen 15 not out.

It looked as if they would bat through Tuesday's morning session without losing a wicket.

But, shortly before lunch, an increasingly fluent Pietersen was bowled by Herath for 72 to end a third-wicket partnership of 127 with Cook.

It was the second time in as many matches that Pietersen had been dismissed by Herath and the 20th time in Tests he'd fallen to a left-arm spinner.

Sri Lanka took the field without Dilshan who, it was confirmed on Tuesday, had suffered a broken thumb caused by twice being hit by Tremlett during his first innings 193 - the highest individual Test score by a Sri Lankan at Lord's.

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