Sri Lanka holds out for draw

Sri Lanka dented England's pride by holding out its attack to claim a meritorious draw in the first Test at Lord's.

Starting the last day 22 runs in front with only four wickets in hand, Sri Lanka batted through to the safety provided by bad light to be 537-9 when play was abandoned.

After the earlier heroics of captain Mahela Jayawardene, who scored a fine century on day four, it was Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Kulasekara who provided the defensive substance to achieve the draw.

England ended the match having spilled nine chances.

It appeared during the morning session that the day might end quickly as two quick wickets were taken by England.

Chamara Kapugedera was caught behind off Andrew Flintoff (2-131) for 10 with the score on 405-7, then Tillakaratne Dilshan had his innings ended at 69 when caught by Marcus Trescothick from Liam Plunkett's (1-85) bowling.

At 421-8, it seemed Sri Lanka was down and out.

Not even the third new ball proved capable of ending the Sri Lankan resistance.

Monty Panesar (2-49) was given a bowl with the new ball soon after it was taken and had two sixes taken from him by Kulasekara who achieved his maiden Test half-century with the second, scored from 92 balls.

He had been dropped on 14 by Alistair Cook, fielding in the gully.

Kulasekara's innings was finally ended by Matthew Hoggard (2-110) for 64 when he was caught by Kevin Pietersen at deep square-leg.

England's hopes of then attacking Muttiah Muralitharan immediately were lost at the batsmen crossed during the dismissal.

Vaas ended unbeaten on 50 while Muralitharan, who survived everything that England bowled at him, was unbeaten on one when the light finally forced the end of the match.

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