Sri Lanka hold on for draw
Sri Lanka survived another final-day examination by England to draw the second npower Test at Lord’s and keep the series alive ahead of the final match at the Rose Bowl, starting a week on Thursday.
Following the hosts’ improbable victory in the first Test at Cardiff last week, when Sri Lanka were dismissed for 82 on the final day, Andrew Strauss again tested the tourists’ mettle.
He declared 342 ahead, midway through the afternoon session, with a minimum 58 overs to be bowled due to rain delays on the previous two days.
Chris Tremlett struck early to remove makeshift opener Kumar Sangakkara, filling in for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan. Stuart Broad broke a fifty partnership with Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket and Jonathan Trott’s part-time seam bowling accounted for opener Tharanga Paranavitana.
However, England could not strike again and, with 15 overs still to be bowled, the teams shook hands at 127 for three on a sunny evening in front of a healthy walk-up crowd.
Alastair Cook’s third hundred in four Test innings earlier set up the declaration at 335 for seven, leaving Sri Lanka an improbable 343 to square the rubber.
Cook, who fell four short of three figures in the first innings, made 106 from 231 balls, featuring 10 fours. The opener was among a flurry of wickets as the hosts went for quick runs.
Ian Bell’s fastest Test half-century followed Cook and Kevin Pietersen’s 127-run partnership. Pietersen returned to sound form with 72 and Bell remained in fine fettle en route to 57 not out from 43 balls.
With Cook and Pietersen resuming on 61 and 15 respectively, Chanaka Welegedara proved expensive early on, going for 12 in two consecutive overs. During Suranga Lakmal’s intervening over the fifty partnership arrived.
Pietersen required on-field treatment after being struck on the right wrist by a rising delivery from Lakmal. He quickly recovered, driving the seamer for two consecutive straight fours before taking him for a single to go to 50.
The hundred stand arrived when Pietersen clipped Dilhara Fernando to leg for one. Cook then survived when he faintly inside-edged left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for four to move to 81.
Herath’s review for a bat-pad catch against Pietersen on 64 was unsuccessful, and he continued to accumulate smoothly while Cook remained watchful.
Pietersen was finally beaten by a Herath delivery that pitched outside the right-hander’s leg stump but turned sharply to hit off.
A confident Bell ended a period of no boundaries for 10 overs by striking Fernando for three off-side fours in the last over before lunch. He continued to be aggressive after, cracking Herath for two more in the first over back.
Farveez Maharoof spilled Bell on 24 off Herath, running in from long-off. Cook immediately reverse-swept the spinner for four.
Bell was given another life a run later when replays showed him narrowly short of his ground from a direct hit, but umpire Billy Doctrove surprisingly opted not to call on TV evidence. Reprieved, Bell flayed Herath for four through cover to bring up a half-century alliance from 39 balls.
Cook went to three figures with a clipped four through vacant fine-leg off Lakmal. He was stumped off Herath, who took 3-87, after lengthy replays showed the left-hander had just failed to ground his bat in time.
Eoin Morgan struck his first ball, off Fernando, to the backward square-leg rope but fell later in the over, chipping the seamer’s slower ball to cover. In the next Matt Prior was run out at the non-striker’s end when Bell sent him back.
Bell’s half-century arrived from 40 balls with the first of two consecutive fours off Herath. Broad was caught behind off Fernando, following a referral, prompting Strauss to declare.
Sangakkara, who had led Sri Lanka on the field in England’s innings, filled in at the top of the order for Dilshan. The tourists this morning confirmed Dilshan has a hairline fracture of his right thumb and would only bat if absolutely necessary.
Sangakkara lived dangerously early in Sri Lanka’s reply, edging Tremlett past a packed slip cordon for four, but fell in the paceman’s next over - well held by Morgan at backward point.
Morgan could have run Jayawardene out, but his throw from the same position missed the non-striker’s stumps with the batsman well short.
Paranavitana and Jayawardene took few risks, only managing the occasional boundary.
Jayawardene’s fourth four, off Broad, heralded the fifty partnership, but later in the over, on 25, he edged to Pietersen, who took an excellent catch to his left at fourth slip.
Paranavitana drove Broad for four twice in an over and Thilan Samaraweera successfully reviewed Doctrove’s lbw verdict to Graeme Swann.
Paranavitana’s edge off Swann ricocheted off Prior and looped over slip to safety but he was trapped in front by Trott’s in-swinger for 44.
Prasanna Jayawardene drove a pair of fours in a Broad over and Samaraweera edged Finn over the slips for four as Strauss attacked. But they held firm and the players decided there was not sufficient chance of a positive result to play the last 15 overs.