Heavy rain looks like it may help England's cricket team avoid defeat in the third cricket test against host Sri Lanka in Galle.

Stumps was called early on the fourth day Friday due to a torrential downpour, with England on its lunch score of 102-1 in its second innings. The tourists had been dismissed for a humiliating 81 in their first innings, in reply to Sri Lanka's 499-8 declared.

Still trailing by 316 runs, England must bat through Saturday's final day to force a draw, but that will not be enough to rescue the series, with Sri Lanka leading 1-0 going into this final test.

Opener Alastair Cook on 53 and Ian Bell on 17 will resume at the crease on Saturday. The weather forecast for the final day is not encouraging.

England is also expected to drop in the International Cricket Council test rankings if it loses this series.  This is also the first test at the Galle cricket venue since the Boxing Day tsunami devastated the area in December of 2004.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.