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Swann and Pietersen secure England win

England preserved their status as number one Test nation for a little longer thanks to a stirring victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo. The victory tied the series and ensured that England will remain in top spot until their next Test series against West Indies in May.

After bowling Sri Lanka out before lunch on the final day, England needed just 94 to win. Despite the loss of captain Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott, the total was quickly reached, with aggressive stroke-playing from Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen.

Spinner Graeme Swann was England’s bowling hero, taking 10 wickets in the match, although Pietersen’s superb batting obviously earned him the man of the match prize. Pietersen, underlining the cavalier brilliance with which he batted in the match, scored the winning runs with a lofted six into the crowd, with the watching England fans celebrating as soon as bat met ball.

It was a decent end to a disappointing winter for England who lost all 3 Tests against Pakistan in the Emirates, and performed poorly in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

"We’ve got the best bowling attack in the world, and the batters had to match them," Pietersen said. "We managed to do that in this match." Pietersen put down the win to hard work and learning lessons from the first Test.

He also offered extravagant support for Strauss, whose poor batting form is putting his place in the side under doubt. "We’re backing him to the hilt," said Pietersen. "Nobody can replace Andrew Strauss. He’s a great captain."

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