Colombo - Graeme Swann claimed a match haul of
10 wickets as England roared to a series-levelling win over Sri Lanka
in the second and final Test on Saturday to retain their number one
Swann followed his four wickets in the first innings with
six in the second as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 278 at the stroke of
lunch on the fifth day at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.
set a modest target of 94, coasted home by eight wickets despite a brief
stutter at 31-2 following the dismissals of skipper Andrew Strauss for
no score and Jonathan Trott for five.
Alastair Cook and Kevin
Pietersen carried the tourists home with a brisk third-wicket stand of
66 in 69 balls, amid wild celebrations from some 5 000 travelling
English fans at the ground.
Left-hander Cook remained unbeaten on
49 and Pietersen, who hit a century in the first innings, smashed 42 not
out from 28 balls, signalling his team's emphatic victory with a six
off Tillakaratne Dilshan.
"We are still number one, for a while
yet, hopefully," said Strauss, who has been under pressure for both his
leadership skills and his poor form with the bat.
important thing was winning the game. We did not want to walk away from
Sri Lanka having lost the series. I'm delighted by the way the guys
reacted to the challenge.
"At the end of the day this will look
like a reasonably comfortable victory, but we all know how hard we had
to work for that. It's been a tough winter and we're delighted to come
through at the end of it."
It was England's first win in five
Tests on their Asian sojourn this year after being thrashed 3-0 by
Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and losing the first Test against
Sri Lanka in Galle.
The ICC confirmed that England and South
Africa were level at the top of the Test charts with 116 rating points,
but Strauss' men nudged ahead when the ratings were calculated beyond
the decimal point.
Strauss saluted Swann, man-of-the-match Pietersen and seamer Jimmy Anderson.
was outstanding on an unresponsive wicket, Swann proved his worth once
again and Pietersen showed everyone why he is such a special talent,"
the skipper said.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked sixth, paid the
price for not reaching 300 in either innings of the match and will
remain without a series win since 2009, when they beat New Zealand at
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who ended with 354 runs in four
innings at an average of 88.50 with two hundreds and a half-century, was
declared the man of the series.
"We knew England would come hard at us because good players and good teams always step up to the plate," Jayawardene said.
made a few mistakes. It was important to get a big first-innings score,
which is always so important in our part of the world. We probably fell
100 runs short.
"And then KP (Pietersen) came and turned the game
around. His century shifted the momentum of the Test match. We were
outplayed on the first two days and that proved the big difference."
Jayawardene paid rich tribute to Swann, saying he was one of the best spinners he had faced.
knew going into the series that Anderson and Swann would be the main
threats because they can bowl well in any conditions," he said.
"It was a hard-fought series. We made mistakes and we have to learn from that and become more consistent going forward."