Cook and Pietersen exit as draw looms

Cardiff: Sri Lanka finally saw the back of Alastair Cook in the first Test at Sophia Gardens here on Sunday but only after he`d shared another huge stand with fellow century-maker Jonathan Trott.

Meanwhile Kevin Pietersen`s well documented problems against left-arm spin continued when he was lbw to Rangana Herath for just three.

England were 344 for four reply to Sri Lanka`s first innings 400, a deficit of 56 runs, at tea on the fourth day. Trott had extended his overnight century to 147 not out while Warwickshire colleague Ian Bell was unbeaten on 28 after rain, which has repeatedly interrupted this match, washed out the morning session to leave the first of a three-Test series heading for a draw.

England resumed on 287 for two, with Cook 129 not out and Trott 125 not out -- his sixth century in just 19 Tests.

Cook had added just four runs when he top-edged a cut off seamer Farveez Maharoof and was caught head-high by wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

England were 298 for three after a five-hour partnership of 251 between opener Cook and Trott that came hot on the heels of stands of 329 and 173 during a 3-1 Ashes series win in Australia.

This was also Cook`s second hundred in as many Test innings, following on from an Ashes triumph where the 26-year-old left-hander scored a mammoth 766 runs at 127.66, including three centuries.

Pietersen had already looked uncomfortable against Herath before he went back, with a cross-bat, to a delivery that kept low.

Sri Lanka`s lbw appeal was rejected by West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove, prompting a review.

Australian third umpire Rod Tucker, after several minutes` study, eventually decided the ball had hit the pad, and not Pietersen`s bat, first.

Doctrove reversed his original verdict and Pietersen lingered for a while before slowly walking off after just 11 balls at the crease, with England now 305 for four.

It was the 19th time in Tests and 43rd occasion in all international cricket Pietersen had been dismissed by a left-arm spinner.

Bell though drove Herath, one of only two bowlers along with Maharoof used in the session, straight out of the ground for the first six of the match.

But Bell had a lucky break on 19 when a cut off Maharoof, playing his first Test in nearly four years after being called up from county side Lancashire, was dropped at gully by Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka, already without retired stars Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas, had seen their attack depleted further by injuries to seamers Nuwan Pradeep and Dilhara Fernando, who`d both enjoyed success in two warm-up victories in England.

Bureau Report