Millennium Post

Rain stymies England bid for Sri Lanka downplay

The result saw England take the three-match series 2-0. Sri Lanka, set 362 to win, finished on 78 for one after rain, which had prevented any play before lunch on the final day, finally saw the umpires abandon the match as a draw at 5:12pm local time (1612 GMT). Dimuth Karunaratne was 37 not out and Kusal Mendis 17 not out after only 12.2 overs were possible on Tuesday.

Jonny Bairstow was named man-of-the-match and England’s man of the series. Bairstow made a Test-best 167 not out in the first innings at Lord’s and in the series as a whole scored 387 runs at an average of 129, including two hundreds. “To be back in England and hit the ground running was the main aim,” said Bairstow, whose first stint as a Test player ended with him being dropped from the team.

Bairstow has been in superb batting form since making 150 not out in his maiden Test century against South Africa in Cape Town in January.“I felt like I had a few people to prove wrong,” said Bairstow. “This series and in South Africa I think I’ve done that.” 

The Sri Lanka series also saw wicket-keeper Bairstow hold 19 catches, although doubts about his glovework persisted after he grassed a couple of routine chances. “I was pleased, but disappointed to drop a couple,” he said. “The hard work continues.” 

England won the first Test at Headingley by an innings and 88 runs, before defeating Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the second Test at the Riverside.

Kaushal Silva, Sri Lanka’s man-of-the-series, said: “England have a quality fast-bowling line-up.” Silva, who made a stylish 79 in the first innings of this match, added: “I’ve missed out on a hundred at Lord’s three times, hopefully I’ll get another chance next time.” 

England captain Alastair Cook added: “It could have been a really good day’s cricket. “It would have been good to see our guys under pressure but the English weather got in the way.” 

Sri Lanka resumed on Tuesday on 32 without loss. Karunaratne was 19 not out and Silva unbeaten on 12.

In overcast conditions, staying at the crease against the England new-ball duo of Broad and Anderson was going to be a tough task for Sri Lanka, let alone reaching a target that would set a new record for the highest fourth-innings total to win a Test at Lord’s, surpassing the West Indies’ 344 against England in 1984. 
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