England v Sri Lanka: England win series after rain abandonment

The floodlights are switched on as play begins during day five of the Investec Third Test match at Lord's, London.
The floodlights are switched on as play begins during day five of the Investec Third Test match at Lord's, London.
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England had to settle for a 2-0 Investec series victory over Sri Lanka - and a stalemate at Lord’s - after rain wiped out almost the entire final day of the third Test.

Home hopes of a 3-0 whitewash gradually receded, and a virtual washout instead became the reality.

England’s declaration on 233 for seven had left all results possible and the likelihood of an intriguing culmination to a series already wrapped up by Alastair Cook’s team with wide-margin successes at Headingley and then Chester-le-Street.

But set a ground-record 362 to win, Sri Lanka’s mettle was tested for just 12.2 overs against a pedigree pace attack.

That was enough, after play got under way at 1.20pm and then briefly resumed following another two-and-a-half-hour interruption, for James Anderson to strike with a brilliant piece of swing bowling to see off Kaushal Silva.

Under cloud cover, Anderson produced a devilish inswinger up the slope to have Silva lbw playing no stroke.

But two more downpours confirmed the inevitable draw shortly after 5pm, Sri Lanka having moved to 78 for one from a start-of-play 32 without loss.

A slightly untypical Lord’s pitch had demonstrated increasingly variable bounce - from the pavilion end especially - and some sharp turn too on day four.

England therefore fancied their chances of inflicting their first whitewash in any series of three matches or more since they beat India 4-0 in 2011.

Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten 167 in the first innings, and career-best batting too from Chris Woakes first time round and then Alex Hales - who fell just six short of a maiden Test hundred - earned a position to push for victory.

But it was not to be, England having to resort to spin at each end in classic seam-bowling conditions as worsening light compromised them even before rain returned for the last time.

The hosts are therefore left merely with a 10-2 lead in the inaugural Super Series - and 12 points still to play for in five one-day internationals and one Twenty20, starting at Trent Bridge on June 21.