Sangakkara century earns Sri Lanka draw

SOUTHAMPTON, England, (Reuters) – Kumar Sangakkara  scored his first international century in England as Sri Lanka  secured a draw when rain brought an early finish to the third  and final test yesterday.

Sri Lanka were 334 for five at tea when rain prevented any  further play. Stand-in captain Sangakkara led his team’s  fight-back with 119 after England began the fifth day with hopes  of sealing a 2-0 series win.

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara prepares to square cut a delivery on the way to his first international century in England.

He was out 10 minutes before the interval, while Thilan  Samaraweera was left stranded on 87 not out and Prasanna  Jayawardene on six when a heavy downpour ended the match  prematurely. The tourists fought bravely, losing just two  wickets in the day while leading by 141 runs.

It was England’s fifth consecutive test series win, while  Sri Lanka only missed out on a drawn series because of a  remarkable batting collapse in the first test at Cardiff when  they were bowled out on the last day in 24 overs.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 184 in their first innings at  The Rose Bowl, before England replied with 377 for eight  declared thanks to a fluent 119 from Ian Bell.

Sangakkara notched up his 25th test century after previously  managing a top score of just 26 in the series. He departed when  driving James Anderson to substitute fielder Adam Rouse at  backward point, ending an innings of more than six hours.

He required 35 minutes to score his first run after lunch  and only moved from his interval score of 89 with an edge to the  boundary that flew over first slip Andrew Strauss off Anderson.

Sangakkara reached three figures with a quick single to  mid-on and he raised his arms in jubilation, having gone 10  years with a top score of 70 from all internationals in England.

England’s only other success of the day was that of  nightwatchman Rangana Herath before lunch for 36, though he  survived three chances. Samaraweera added 141 for the fifth  wicket with his skipper and rain possibly denied him a 13th test  hundred.

Both Samaraweera, who faced 128 balls, and Sangakkara  punished the bad ball clinically. Sangakkara illustrated his  intentions by smashing two fours off Anderson through cover and  then straight down the ground that reduced the deficit to 45.

Herath earlier lived dangerously. First when he was on five,  the left-hander pushed forward at an Anderson delivery and first  slip Strauss, perhaps distracted by second slip Graeme Swann,  parried the ball towards third man.

Herath survived again when he could have been run out on  seven. Sangakkara scampered through for a quick single but  Anderson’s throw from cover point missed the stumps when Herath  was well short of his ground.

England’s bowlers were often too short or wide in their line  and length and the Sri Lankan batsmen were able to leave the  ball comfortably.

England missed a third opportunity to remove Herath, on 19,  when he was struck on the pad by offspinner Swann.

Umpire Rod Tucker gave not out and England chose not to  review the decision. Replays suggested Herath would have been  out if they had. Swann finally dismissed Herath lbw when he  missed a sweep shot.

Rain meant that 155 overs were lost during the first three  days, while 369 overs were lost to the weather in total in the  series.

The teams will next meet in a Twenty20 international at Bristol on Saturday, before a five-match 50-over series.

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