Galle, December 22:

Opener Alastair Cook hit a defiant century before rain washed out the last session to help England draw the final Test against Sri Lanka here on Saturday.

Cook made 118 as England groped to 251-6 when a heavy downpour ruined Sri Lanka’s victory hopes. England were dismissed for 81, replying to Sri Lanka’s 499-8 declared in the first innings. Sri Lanka took the series 1-0, having won the first Test in Kandy by 88 runs. Sri Lanka would have moved to second place behind Australia in the rankings if they had secured a 2-0 series win. Muttiah Muralitharan finished with three wickets, but the hero of the final day was opener Cook who stood rock solid to deny Sri Lanka victory.

Cook scored the seventh Test century before his 23rd birthday on Christmas Day. Sachin Tendulkar of India and Pakistan’s Javed Miandad had scored seven tons by their 23rd year, while Australian legend Don Bradman had eight.