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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 11:55 GMT
Vaughan blames fatigue
Kumar Sangakkara
Sri Lanka grab stump souvenirs at the end of the game

England captain Michael Vaughan had no complaints after his side suffered a crushing innings defeat in the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

He said the effort of playing three games back-to-back had taken its toll on his team.

"We came here, won the toss and didn't really put enough runs on the board to put them under pressure," he said.

"I think the better team over three matches won the series and you've got to give them credit for that."

England's second innings total of 148 was their lowest against Sri Lanka, who also secured a 1-0 series victory following draws in Galle and Kandy.

"We were on the ropes in Kandy and Galle, we fought really hard and I'd like to thank my team for all the effort they've put in.

"We've tried our best but unfortunately it was a game too much," said Vaughan.

The England captain hailed the performance of Sri Lankan spinner Mattie Muralitharan, the man of the series, who snared 27 wickets in the three Tests.

"This new delivery that he has got has caused us a lot of problems," said Vaughan. "It's one thing seeing it and another playing it."

The England players now have a two-month break before embarking on their third assignment of the winter in the West Indies, having begun it in October with a tour to Bangladesh.

Ashley Giles
Ashley Giles took 18 wickets in the three Tests

Chairman of selectors David Graveney, meanwhile, cited a lack of penetration from England's seam bowlers - with the exception of Andrew Flintoff - as one of the main reasons for the series defeat.

He said spinner Ashley Giles had been the "only threat" to the Sri Lankan batsmen.

"Supplementing him, and having a few more teeth to our attack, are probably the things the selectors need to address," Graveney told the BBC.

Although Andrew Flintoff took nine wickets, James Kirtley's six victims cost 50 runs each, and Matthew Hoggard, Richard Johnson and James Anderson did not take a single wicket between them in one match each.

"Chaminda Vaas does not bowl particularly quickly, but he's a very clever bowler and shows the skills required to play on bland wickets," Graveney added.

Links to more Sri v Eng stories


England captain Michael Vaughan
"The better team throughout the series came out on top"

England's Ashley Giles
"It's been really hard and I am really tired"

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