A BREEZE: Ten-wicket Swann fires them
GRAEME Swann claimed a match haul of 10 wickets as England roared to a series-levelling win over Sri Lanka in the Second and final Test yesterday to retain their No 1 ranking.
Swann followed his four wickets in the first innings with six in the second as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 278 at the stroke of lunch on the fifth day at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.
England, set a modest target of 94, coasted home by eight wickets despite a brief stutter at 31-2 following the dismissals of skipper Andrew Strauss for no score and Jonathan Trott for five.
Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen carried the tourists home with a brisk third-wicket stand of 66 in 69 balls, amid wild celebrations from some 5,000 travelling English fans at the ground.
Left-hander Cook remained unbeaten on 49 and Pietersen, who hit a century in the first innings, smashed 42 not out from 28 balls, signalling his team's emphatic victory with a six off Tillakaratne Dilshan.
It was England's first win in five tests on their Asian sojourn this year after being blanked 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and losing the First Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked sixth, paid the price for not reaching 300 in either innings of the match and will remain without a series win since 2009, when they beat New Zealand at home.
The overnight pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, who resumed at 218-6, survived close calls within the first 30 minutes of play.
Mathews was fortunate to see Cook put down two sharp chances at short-leg off Swann, first when the batsman was on three and then on 12.
Jayawardene, on 58, was reprieved by a television review in the day's fourth over after on-field umpire Asad Rauf had upheld seamer James Anderson's appeal for leg-before.
Cook finally held on to a catch at short-leg to remove the in-form Sri Lankan captain for 64 and give Swann his fifth wicket in the innings.
Jayawardene ended the series with 354 runs in four innings at an average of 88.50 with two hundreds and a half-century.
Swann then bowled Prasanna Jayawardene around his legs and Samit Patel removed Rangana Herath to reduce Sri Lanka to 251-9, before Mathews delayed the end with a fighting 46.
Mathews was last man out, caught at mid-wicket off seamer Steven Finn, who finished with two wickets.
Scores: Sri Lanka 275 and 278; England 460 and 97-2 AFP