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Day 5 of 5
Match Drawn

Sri Lanka vs England

England stay alive with draw

Tourists bat to safety on final day in Colombo

Bell: attacking innings

England comfortably batted throughout the final day in Colombo to secure a draw in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell all contributed half-centuries as England reached 250-3 in their second innings - an overall lead of 53 - before rain arrived during the tea interval to bring a premature end to a game that was already meandering towards a draw.

The result means England can still claim a share of the series by winning the final Test in Galle, which starts on Tuesday.

Bowling graveyard

As had been the case during the opening four days of the match, the pitch at the Sinhalese Sports Club offered no assistance for bowlers.

Vaughan continued his flowing form from the first innings while completing a 75-ball half-century after England had resumed on 48-0, 149 runs behind.

The Yorkshire batsman and Cook extended their opening partnership to 107, the first time an English opening pair have managed two in Test since Geoff Boycott and John Edrich against Australia in 1970-71.

Sri Lanka made their only breakthrough of the morning when Vaughan (61) chipped a slower ball back to Dilhara Fernando (1-30), having earlier narrowly escaped when he cleared mid-off with a mis-hit drive from the same bowler.

After a 20-minute stoppage for rain, Cook reached a half-century of his own just prior to lunch - the first instance that England's openers have both passed 50 in each innings of a Test since 1948.

Silva lining

Bell joined Cook as the tourists reached lunched at 152-1 with home captain Mahela Jayawardene rapidly running out of wicket-taking ideas.

Jayawardene had already turned his thoughts to left field and given Chamara Silva his first bowl in Test cricket with an exploratory three-over spell prior to lunch.

And the decision to persevere with the occasional wrist-spinner after the break did the trick as his very first delivery of the second session turned out of the rough enough to take Cook's (62) outside edge on the way to Jaywardene at slip.

At that point the door was slightly ajar for Sri Lanka, but a third-wicket stand of 52 between Bell and Kevin Pietersen settled any nerves in the England dressing room.

Bell batted positively throughout an 88-ball innings, although his dismissal for 54 was the result of an injudicious attempt to hit Muttiah Muralitharan over-the-top. The Warwickshire batsman tamely found Michael Vandort three quarters of the way back to long-on.

That was Muralitharan's (1-58) only breakthrough from 27 overs of toil, a reflection of both the lifeless nature of the pitch and a slightly subdued effort from the master off-spinner.

Pietersen (45no) and Paul Collingwood (23no) shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 46 to reach tea at 250-3, at which point a heavy downpour arrived in Colombo to end proceedings, although there was little prospect of Sri Lanka forcing a positive result by that stage.

Match Details

Date
9th Dec 2007
Toss
Venue
Colombo
Umpires
Aleem Dar and D J Harper

england BATTING CARD

Batsman R
Cook c Jayawardene b Silva 62
Vaughan c Fernando 61
Bell c Vandort b Muralitharan 54
Pietersen not out 45
Collingwood not out 23
Extras 5nb 5
Total 77.0 Overs 250 - 3
Full Batting Card

sri lanka BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
Full Bowling Card