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Rain washes out third day of Ashes Test

  • Story Highlights
  • Persistent rain washes out the third day of the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston
  • ECB rewards Friday's hero Graham Onions with new incremental contract
  • Onions took 4-58 and James Anderson claimed five wickets in Birmingham
  • Sri Lanka take a 2-0 lead in the five-match one-day series against Pakistan
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(CNN) -- England's bid to take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series against Australia has been thwarted by more bad weather on the third day of the third Test at Edgbaston.

Graham Onions is delighted after sending back Australian captain Ricky Ponting for 38.

Persistent rain left the outfield at Edgbaston under water, despite the ground staff's best efforts.

Saturday's entire day was abandoned due to persistent rain, with England unable to resume their first innings of 116-2 in reply to the tourists' 263.

England coach Andy Flower was unsure if his team would get the chance to press home their advantage.

"It's a pity -- and looking at the outfield, I don't know how much play we're going to get tomorrow either," he told the UK Press Association.

"(Groundsman) Steve Rouse has said we might get 70 overs in, and that would be a godsend if we did. But you can see how quickly things can happen in a game, so a result is definitely possible."

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board has rewarded seamer Graham Onions -- who took 4-58 as Australia collapsed on Friday -- with a new incremental contract.

The Durham bowler qualified after having started his fourth Test match for England, having already taken an impressive 17 wickets.

"There is no doubt that Graham thoroughly deserves his increment contract. He has been a valuable contributor to the England set-up since making his debut earlier this summer," ECB managing director Hugh Morris said on Saturday.

Onions and James Anderson took all nine Australian wickets to fall on the second day in Birmingham.

Australia, who resumed overnight on a healthy 126-1, collapsed in the face of an onslaught from the pace pair, being dismissed shortly after lunch.

Onions set the mood with wickets from the first two balls of the day, trapping Shane Watson leg before wicket for 62 and then bowling Mike Hussey for a duck to continue his miserable run of form.

Ricky Ponting reached a landmark early in the session as he went past the 25 runs he needed to surpass Allan Border as Australia's leading run-scorer in Test cricket.

It moved him into third place in the all-time list behind Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, but on 38 he became the third victim of the morning for Onions as he mishooked a bouncer through to wicket-keeper Matt Prior.

That left Australia in deep trouble on 168 for four wickets but worse was to follow as Anderson got into the act with the ball swinging extravagantly.

He had Marcus North caught behind for 12 by Prior and trapped vice-captain Michael Clarke leg before with another swinging delivery.
Beginner's guide to the Ashes »

Mitchell Johnson went first ball, again leg before wicket for a duck to leave Anderson on a hat-trick, but debutant wicketkeeper Graham Manou survived.

Manou, a late replacement for the injured Brad Haddin, made eight before he misjudged an Anderson delivery to be bowled in the final over of the morning to end a sorry session for the tourists on 203-8.

Late resistance by Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus saw 60 added for the final two wickets, shared by Anderson and Onions.

England quickly lost Alastair Cook to Siddle and Hilfenhaus had Ravi Bopara play on for 23.

But recalled Ian Bell and in-form captain Andrew Strauss (64 not out) made sure they did not lose any further wickets with an unbroken stand of 55 before bad light halted play early.

The opening day was restricted to just 30 overs due to the weather.

England, who lead the five-match series 1-0, are bidding to win back the Ashes from Australia.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka took a 2-0 lead in the one-day series against Pakistan after winning the second match of five by six wickets in Dambulla on Saturday.

Chamara Kapugedera marked his return with 67 not out in an unbroken 95-run stand for the fifth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera after the hosts stumbled to 74-4 in chase of 169 for victory.

Samaraweera was unbeaten on 38 as Sri Lanka coasted home with just 6.2 overs to spare.

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Pakistan again struggled with the bat, being all out for 168 in 47 overs after crumbling to 78-6.

Fast bowler Thilan Thushara took 3-33 after a lethal early burst, while veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed 2-41 and there were also two run-outs.

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