Rain frustrates Sri Lanka, likely to save England
Heavy rains continued to frustrate Sri Lanka in their attempt to win
the third and final Test match against the touring England team on the
penultimate day at the reconstructed Galle International Stadium
Sri Lanka are looking to wrap up the series two nil following their
success in the opening Test in Kandy and move into the second place of
the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Championship Team Rankings.
A light shower forced the players to return back into the dressing
room with England struggling to survive on 102 for 1 in their second
innings at the break after being forced to follow on. The downpour then
further increased in intensity during the lunch interval with covers
placed across the whole ground.
The rains eased at around 1.00 p.m and there was a moment when the
ground staff started to pull the covers off. But then again the rains
returned to the Galle Stadium getting even heavier there after.
The umpires Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and Daryl Harper (Australia) then in
consultation with the match referee Jeff Crowe (New Zealand) and the two
teams decided to call of play for the day at 3.00 p.m.
England still need a further 316 runs to make Sri Lanka bat again
with nine second innings wickets in hand. Sri Lankan captain Mahela
Jayawardene rotated his bowlers more regularly in search for a
breakthrough while using five bowlers in all.
But apart from two close edges for four by left-hander Alastiar Cook
both of which landed short of the slips on way through to the boundary
there were very few chances for the Sri Lankan bowlers during the
Cook overtook his captain and opening partner Michael Vaughn twice
while punishing left arm paceman Chanaka Welegedara in the 14th over of
the innings for superb boundaries.
Cook then reached his third half century in the current series with
his seventh boundary in the next over when he bisected two fielders on
the off side with an excellent extra cover drive from the bowling of
The England opener has so far occupied the crease for 145 minutes and
faced 117 deliveries.
England continued to play their shots despite the need for survival
and Michael Vaughan’s dismissal came about when he chased a wide
delivery from left-armer Welegedara and sliced it into hands of skipper
Mahela Jayawardene fielding at second slip in the 19th over of the day.
Welegedera on his debut impressed a lot in the second innings too
with a slinging action and good control of line.
Vaughn batted quite confidently until then where he also shared a
crucial 67 run opening stand.
The England captain batted for 87 minutes and faced 57 deliveries
without stroking a boundary.
Ian Bell joined Alastiar Cook and the pair took England past their
shameful first innings total 81 runs with an unfinished second wicket
stand of 35 runs.
England survived the first one hour of play to reach 38 for no loss
and brought up their fifty runs in 14.5 overs.
Muttiah Muralitharan was introduced in the previous over but his
eight over spell did not have the bite of his earlier performances in
the series where he dominated the proceedings in Kandy and in Colombo
capturing 19 wickets in the process.
There was of course slightly less venom from the two opening bowlers
Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga with the new ball than their more
destructive burst on the previous day.