GALLE:Heavy rain came to England's aid on Friday as it battled to avoid defeat on the fourth day of the third cricket Test against Sri Lanka.
Stumps was called early due to a heavy downpour, with England on its lunch score of 102-1 in its second innings.
The tourists were dismissed for a humiliating 81 in their first innings, in reply to Sri Lanka's 499-8 declared.
Still trailing by 316 runs, England must bat through Saturday's final day to force a draw, but that will not be enough to rescue the series, with Sri Lanka leading 1-0 going into this final Test.
Opener Alastair Cook (53) and Ian Bell (17) will resume at the crease on Saturday,
England captain Michael Vaughan was the only batsman to fall in Friday's play.
Having shared a 67-run partnership with Cook for the opening wicket, Vaughan (24) slashed at a ball from debutant Chanaka Welegedara, with opposing captain Mahela Jayawardene taking the catch at second slip.
Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas (4-28) was the chief destroyer in the visitors' first innings, which was England's worst ever against Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka's innings, Jayawardene made an unbeaten 213 - his fourth double-century - and in doing so surpassed Aravinda de Silva's record for the most test centuries for the nation.
Sri Lanka won the first of the three-Test series in Kandy and the second ended in a draw in Colombo.