Rain stymies England bid for Sri Lanka whitewash

LONDON: Rain thwarted England’s bid for a 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka as the third Test at Lord’s ended in a draw on Monday.


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 5:12 pm local time (1612 GMT).

Dimuth Karunaratne was 37 not out and Kusal Mendis 17 not out.

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 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.

“It’s a pleasure to keep to (Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson,” said Bairstow.

“I was pleased, but disappointed to drop a couple. 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.”

Sri Lanka resumed Monday 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 for one against England in 1984.

Monday’s first over saw Silva edge Broad just short of England captain Alastair Cook at first slip.

But Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test-wicket taker, struck when Silva, padding up after failing to pick an inswinger going against the Lord’s slipe, was lbw for 16.

No sooner had Silva been dismissed then the umpires took the players off the field for rain.

But the weather relented for play to resume after tea.

New batsman Mendis was fortunate when, trying to evade a Broad bouncer, a top edge sailed over Bairstow’s head for four.

Mendis swept occasional off-spinner Joe Root’s second ball for six but then the rain returned and the umpires took the players off for the final time.

Bairstow’s century and Cook’s 85 were the major contributions to England’s first innings 416.

Sri Lanka could only manage 288 in reply, despite fifties from Karunaratne and Silva.

England’s second innings 233 for seven declared saw Alex Hales again fall short of a maiden Test century with 94 his third fifty of a series where the opener had twice been dismissed in the 80s.

But there was controversy when Hales, then on 58, was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep on Sunday only to be spared by an incorrectly called front-foot no-ball from Australian umpire Rod Tucker.

Sri Lanka continue their tour with two one-day internationals against Ireland in Dublin on Thursday and Saturday before facing England in a five-match ODI series.