England vs Sri Lanka Day Five: Heavy rain forces draw

James Anderson took the only wicket of the day as constant rain prevented either side getting a positive result.

England vs Sri Lanka Day Five: Heavy rain forces draw
Poor weather prevented England's push for victory on the final day | Photo: Getty

Resuming on 32-0, Sri Lanka needed 330 runs to win, whilst England were looking to take the 10 wickets they needed to secure the victory. It wasn't to be however as persistent rain prevented any long periods of play being possible.

Early morning rain ensured that the entire of the morning session was washed out, even after lunch just three overs of play was possible before rain stopped England's hopes when play was abandoned until tea, the rain returning immediately after James Anderson had removed Kaushal Silva. After tea, the rain was still present and after just less than 10 overs before the match was finally abandoned as a draw.

Anderson continues good form

Despite not managing to remove an opener late on day four, the Lancashire bowler returned today in good form. It took Anderson just three overs of play to strike. Displaying all the skills that took him to world number one, he set up Silva perfectly bowling a series of away swingers before nipping one back into the batsman that Silva attempted to leave. The leave was badly misjudged and the Sri Lankan opener was trapped LBW for 16.

James Anderson appeals successfully against Kaushal Silva | Photo: getty
James Anderson appeals successfully against Kaushal Silva | Photo: Getty

The wicket was the latest in a very successful series for Anderson. Only just missing out on England's player of the series, the swing bowler has taken 21 wickets this series at an average of 10. It has been an emphatic return to form after Anderson's injury struggles in South Africa over the winter.

Could Sri Lanka have reached the target set?

Having been set 362 to win after Alastair Cook declared, positive intent at the end of day four meant they were looking for 330 runs in a day to win, a difficult but not impossible task. History was against the visitors however. Sri Lanka's highest successful Test chase was 362 against the West Indies in Columbo in 2006. The venue wasn't in the favour either as the highest successful chase at Lord's is 344 scored by the West Indies all the way back in 1984.

Realistically, despite a promising opening partnership, had England enjoyed a full day of play it would only have been a matter of time before the England bowlers had secured a 3-0 series victory.

Despite the draw, England secured an emphatic series victory winning 2-0. Jonny Bairstow's fantastic form with the bat earned him player of the series for England, while Silva secured player of the series for Sri Lanka after some impressive counter-attacking performances at the top of the order. This series victory puts England in a dominating position for this summer's new points based super series as they now take a 10-2 points lead into the limited overs matches.