Rain helps Sri Lanka salvage draw

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka,  (Reuters) – Lengthy rain interruptions put paid to Australia’s hopes of wrapping up a series-clinching victory over Sri Lanka on the final day of the second test yesterday.

The match ended as a draw after the umpires called off play following persistent rain which allowed just 35.3 overs to be bowled in the first two sessions. Sri Lanka had reached 317 for six in their second innings at tea, a lead of 80 runs.

The hosts lost two quick wickets after lunch as Ryan Harris removed wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene for 21 to pick up his third wicket and Shane Watson dismissed Thilan Samaraweera for 43.

Kumar Sangakkara

Angelo Mathews (11 not out), the only recognised batsman left for Sri Lanka, and Suraj Randiv (four not out) were at the crease when the umpires took an early tea due to the rain.

In the morning session, Australia picked up the crucial wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as they pressed for victory.

The hosts added 65 runs to their overnight total for the loss of Sangakkara (69) and Jayawardene (51) as they battled to save the test match after conceding a huge first-innings deficit.

The experienced duo added 101 runs for the third wicket before Sangakkara fell to the second new ball on his overnight score, his edge off Ryan Harris carrying straight to Australia captain Michael Clarke at second slip.

Clarke also took a brilliant one-handed diving catch off Trent Copeland to send back Jayawardene, who stood his ground until replays confirmed the ball had been taken.

Australia missed an opportunity to dismiss Samaraweera on nought when Clarke dropped him off Harris, three deliveries after the dismissal of Sangakkara.

Australia won the first match of the three-test series by 125 runs.

Sri Lanka first innings: 174 (A. Mathews 58, R.Harris 3-38)
Australia first innings: 411-7 declared (M. Hussey 142, S. Marsh 141; S. Randiv 3-103)

Sri Lanka second innings: (overnight 223-2)
T. Paranavitana c Haddin b Hussey               55
T. Dilshan c Watson b Harris                             36
K. Sangakkara c Clarke b Harris                       69
M. Jayawardene c Clarke b Copeland            51
T. Samaraweera c Haddin b Watson              43
P. Jayawardene c Haddin b Harris                 21
A. Mathews not out                                               11
S. Randiv not out                                                     4
Extras (b 6 lb 20 nb 1)                                         27
Total (For six wickets; 114.3 overs)            317
Fall of wickets: 1-81 2-128 3-229 4-270 5-301 6-307
Bowling: R. Harris 22-8-54-3, T. Copeland 27-10-63-1, M. Johnson 23.3-4-61-0 (1 nb), S. Watson 20-9-43-1, N. Lyon 15-1-52-0, M. Hussey 4-2-2-1, M. Clarke 3-0-16-0

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