sport: England forced to settle for draw against Sri Lanka

Andrew Strauss disappointed with England bowling

England's hopes of repeating their dramatic last-gasp triumph in Cardiff were thwarted by determined Sri Lankan batting as the second Test at Lord's ended in a draw.

After setting the tourists 343 to win in 58 overs - with Alastair Cook making his sixth century in nine Tests - England's aim was to spark a collapse similar to the first Test, when Sri Lanka slumped to 82 all out inside 25 overs.

But the flurry of wickets never materialised, with Tharanga Paranavitana (44) showing courage and character to keep England at bay as the visitors battled to 127-3 before the teams shook hands on a draw 15 overs before the scheduled close.

England had made one early breakthrough when Kumar Sangakkara, opening in the absence of the injured captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, was dismissed early on. But a steady partnership of 53 either side of tea between Paranavitana and Mahela Jayawardene dampened their spirits.Jayawardene, who had earlier escaped a run out when Eoin Morgan's shy bounced over the stumps, edged a Stuart Broad outswinger to Kevin Pietersen at fourth slip for 23 and Paranavitana became Jonathan Trott's second victim in Test cricket when he was trapped in front.

But by that stage England were running out of overs and the stubborn Thilan Samaraweera blocked his way to the close to ensure Sri Lanka go into the third Test at the Rose Bowl still in with a chance of levelling the series.

Earlier, all eyes had been on Pietersen to see whether he could silence his doubters with a substantial innings, and to a degree he did exactly that.

After a nervous start, he began to play his natural attacking game, dispatching two half-volleys from Chanaka Welegedara to the boundary and reaching his 22nd Test fifty from 85 balls.

A century looked on the cards until he received a beauty from Rangana Herath which turned sharply out of the rough and knocked back his off stump for 72.

Cook, having given his wicket away in the first innings, favoured caution over aggression to make sure of his century second time around, the Essex run machine getting to his third hundred in four innings with a leg glance to the boundary.

Ian Bell set the tone for a frantic run-fest after lunch with a six over long-on as England took 12 runs off Herath's first over.A burst of runs followed, but aggressive hitting carries risk, and sure enough Cook was stumped going for the big shot, Morgan was caught in the deep and Matthew Prior was run out in comical fashion after a mix-up with Bell.

The Sussex wicketkeeper certainly did not see the funny side though, breaking a dressing room window in frustration, and later apologising to an MCC member who was cut on her ankle by some falling glass.

Bell reached his fastest ever Test fifty in 40 balls before Strauss called his men into the pavilion and set about plotting how to skittle Sri Lanka once again.

There was to be no repeat of the Cardiff carnage, however, leaving the series delicately poised ahead of the finale in Southampton, starting on 16 June.
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