England were left frustrated by their inability to bowl Sri Lanka out on the final day of the third Test, with Andrew Strauss paying tribute to the batting efforts of opposition skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
Strauss and his side started day five at the Rose Bowl with genuine hopes of forcing a result as the tourists began the morning on 112 for three, still 81 runs behind after England had declared on the fourth afternoon with a first innings advantage of 193 runs.
However, a rearguard action from Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera – who shared a stand of 141 runs – guided Sri Lanka to the safety of a 141-run lead when rain forced an early end to the game with no play possible in the evening session.
“We just couldn’t create chances,” said Strauss.
“We had that one chance against (Rangana) Herath that was put down – that might have made a slight difference.
“Having looked very threatening in the first innings, the wicket was a bit more placid today – and two good players got stuck in.
“They’re allowed to bat well; they’re a good batting side,” he added.
While Samaraweera hit an unbeaten 81, it was Sangakkara who stood out with the left-hander reaching his first Test hundred on English soil before he was eventually out for 119.
“We got ourselves in a position to go on and win the game but fair play to Sangakkara especially,” Strauss told Sky Sports. “The Sri Lankans blunted our attack – we didn’t make the inroads we needed to make.
“We were a little frustrated not to take a 2-0 win, I think we got ourselves into good positions in all three Test matches and in a way that two-hour session in Cardiff was good enough to get us one result.”
Chris Tremlett was named England’s man of the series after orchestrating Sri Lanka’s fifth day collapse in the first Test, and the former Hampshire man claimed six first innings wickets at the Rose Bowl before being rewarded with the new ball in the Sri Lankans’ second innings.
The 29-year-old is enjoying his recent rise in England’s bowling ranks and is eager to keep hold of the new ball.
“I hope so, just keep putting in consistent performances is what I’m trying to do, moving up the ladder is great but I want to keep improving,” he said.
“It is tough competition with the lads and if I keep working hard I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Kumar Sangakkara meanwhile was left to rue the tourists’ first Test capitulation on the fifth day in Cardiff when they were bowled out for just 82 runs, handing England a 1-0 success in the rain-drenched Test series.
“None of us were really switched on there,” he said of the Sophia Gardens collapse. “We could have had a 0-0 Test series. There is a lot of regret but lessons were learned.
“We have got to appreciate the effort, we are a side in transition and we need to keep building.
“There were various situations that could have played out today but we batted with our heads held high and walked away with a good result.” Cricket365