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Home > Cricket > Reuters > Report

Top order and rain saves England

December 13, 2007 18:07 IST
Last Updated: December 13, 2007 18:49 IST

A solid top order performance and heavy afternoon rain helped England [Images] draw the second Test against Sri Lanka [Images] on Thursday.

Half centuries from Michael Vaughan [Images], Alastair Cook [Images] and Ian Bell [Images] allowed England to reach 250 for three at tea before the final session was washed out.

England, who lost the opening Test by 88 runs, have a chance to level the series when the third match begins in Galle on Tuesday.

The visitors, resuming on 48-0 after bad light stopped play early on Wednesday, wiped out a 197-run first innings deficit during the afternoon to leave themselves with a 53 run lead at the interval.

England skipper Vaughan led from the front with a stylish 61, fellow opener Cook batted solidly for his 62 and Bell continued a consistent run with 54.

Kevin Pietersen [Images] also chipped in with a confident unbeaten 45 and was batting with Paul Collingwood [Images] on 23 when play was called off.

Vaughan started the morning positively, continuing his good form from the first innings, with Cook also looking comfortable on a slow and lifeless pitch.

The pair followed their first innings partnership of 133 with a 107 run stand in the second, which was broken when Dilhara Fernando, his pace reduced by an ankle injury, fooled Vaughan with a well disguised slower ball that he chipped straight back for a return catch.

Vaughan had scored 61 from 109 balls with eight boundaries.

Sri Lanka's chances of forcing a result were not helped by a 30-minute rain interruption midway through the session.

The docile pitch also made life difficult for the bowlers and the Sri Lankans chopped and changed the bowling frequently in a bid to grab wickets.

The strategy work straight after lunch as Cook was caught at slip after edging a leg break from part-time spinner Chamara Silva, who claimed his first Test wicket.

Cook had scored his 62 from 124 balls and hit five boundaries.

Bell and Pietersen then shared a 52-run stand before Bell, trying to be aggressive, holed at long on off Muttiah Muralitharan.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury and Pritha Sarkar)

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