Colombo, December 13:

England captain Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell each scored half-centuries on Thursday and held Sri Lanka to a draw in the second Test.

The visitors were 250-3 at tea on the final day, with Kevin Pietersen (45) and Paul Collingwood (23) at the crease and no further play was possible because of rain.

England had a 53-run second innings lead with seven wickets in hand at the stoppage.

Winning the toss and batting first, England made 351 and Sri Lanka declared their innings on 548-9 in reply.

When the second session resumed today on 152-1, England lost their second wicket on the first ball when Cook edged part-time legspinner Chamara Silva to Mahela Jayawardene at slip for 62 runs. Cook faced 124 balls and hit five boundaries.

Ian Bell made 54 runs before he was caught at long-on by Michael Vandort off Muttiah Muralitharan to leave the visitors 204-3.

England resumed the final day on 48-0 and scored briskly against pace bowlers in the first hour. Vaughan followed up his first innings score of 87 with a superb 61 from 109 balls, hitting eight boundaries. He was caught and bowled by Dilhara Fernando with the total on 107 after a second successive century opening partnership with Cook. The pair combined for 133 in the first innings.

Sri Lanka rode on centuries from Mahela Jayawardene (195) and Michael Vandort’s 138 and a defiant 79 from Prasanna Jayawardene to lead England by 197 after the first innings. Muralitharan recorded his 62nd five-wicket haul during England’s first innings.

Mahela Jayawardene became Sri Lanka’s highest scorer and its first batsman to pass 7,000 in Test runs but missed out on his fourth double-hundred, after recording his 20th Test century. Pace bowler Steve Harmison finished with 3-111 for England.

The second Test starts from Tuesday at the Galle International Stadium.