Saturday 22 December 2007 

Cook Century And Rain Keep Sri Lanka At Bay

Sri Lanka 499-8 declared (M Jayawardene 213no)
England 81 (Vaas 4-28) & 251-6 (Cook 118) in Galle

Match drawn - Sri Lanka win the series 1-0

Alastair Cook became the first Englishman to score a century during their tour of Sri Lanka as rain also helped his side secure a draw on the final day of the third and final Test in Galle.

Rain ended play with England on 251 for six, following on after being bowled out for 81 in reply to Sri Lanka's 499 for eight declared. The match was called off shortly after, meaning Sri Lanka win the series 1-0.

Cook scored 118 runs from 285 balls, and was the only England batsman to stay at the crease for any length of time.

Ian Bell (34) and Kevin Pietersen (30) offered support before Muttiah Muralitharan dismissed both but England lost three wickets with the score on 200, as Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara all departed, the latter two without scoring to leave England at 200 for five.

A round fifty partnership between Cook and Matt Prior helped steady the ship before Cook edged Chanaka Welegedara to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene to end his vigil.

That left Prior and Sidebottom, a combination that wasn't working in the field, the key men for England with the bat before rain took the players off the field.

Prior had taken 100 balls to score 19 runs, aware of what was required, while Sidebottom faced only one over without scoring before the rains brought a premature end to the series, and England a draw they hardly deserved.

Sri Lanka take the three-match series 1-0 and were comfortably in charge of the match after Mahela Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 213 in the first innings and Chaminda Vaas took four for 28 as England's batting collapsed on day three.

� Cricket World 2007