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Home > Cricket > Reuters > Report

England save Test, lose series

December 22, 2007 19:29 IST

A determined 118 from Alastair Cook [Images] and a tropical downpour rescued England [Images] for a draw in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka [Images] on Saturday.

The fifth day was abandoned 31 overs before the scheduled close due to torrential rain shortly after tea with England on 251 for six, still trailing by 167 runs.

The tourists avoided defeat in the rain-affected Test but lost the series 1-0.

Cook rescued some pride for England, bowled out for 81 in the first innings, with a 285-ball rearguard to anchor the innings. It was England's first century of the series.

Cook shared partnerships of 61 with Ian Bell [Images] (34), 72 for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen [Images] (30) and 50 with wicket-keeper Mathew Prior, who batted for 109 minutes for his 19 not out.

Cook and Bell had made a solid start in the morning, extending their second-wicket partnership to 61 before an off break from Muralitharan kept low and bowled Bell.

Cook's resistance continued with Pietersen, the pair adding 72 runs without great alarm.

With the game drifting towards a draw, Muralitharan, who bowled unchanged for two and a half hours, had Pietersen caught at short mid-wicket by Mahela Jayawardene [Images].

Two balls later Collingwood was deceived by Muralitharan's doosra and stumped.

Next ball, Ravi Bopara completed a pair after being run out by a diving Mahela Jayawardene at slip.

England had collapsed from a relatively comfortable 200 for two to a shaky 200 for five, reviving memories of their batting collapse on Thursday.

However, Cook and Prior blunted the Sri Lanka attack during the first hour of the afternoon and then the first rain interruption washed out the rest of the session.

When play resumed, left-armer Chanaka Welegedera found the outside edge of Cook, finally ending a stubborn match-saving partnership that lasted for 104 minutes.

A heavier tropical storm forced the players off the field for the second time in the day a few minutes later.

Muralitharan finished with 3 for 91 from 38 overs. Welegedera, on his debut, finished with impressive match figures of 4 for 76 from 22 overs.

The hosts won the first Test in Kandy by 88 runs.

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