Vaughan sorry for fans as rain washes out England's game

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Since becoming England's captain in July, Michael Vaughan has been able to get at least one hand on each of the trophies his side have competed for. This run of success came to a soggy and frustrating end here yesterday when England's third and final one-day international against Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

This was the second occasion in three days that the umpires were forced to make such a judgement and it made a mockery of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board's decision to organise a one-day tournament during one of the wettest periods in the year. On the back of their 10-wicket victory in Dambulla, Sri Lanka won this three-match series 1-0.

Losing a series for the first time would have disappointed Vaughan but it was the loss of cricket that really frustrated him. "It is the supporters who I feel really sorry for," he said. "They've paid good money to come here and I believe they don't even get a refund on their match tickets for the game being called off. I am also disappointed for the team. We are a young team and we wanted to try and expose ourselves to the different conditions here."

The wash-outs have also stopped England finding out more about their young players. "The weather here will make selecting England's one-day squad for the West Indies more difficult," Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, said. "We wanted to have a good look at some of the squad and it would have been a good experience for them to play on the type of wickets they play on here."

There is now a danger that the torrential rain could begin to affect England's preparations for the Test series, which starts in Kandy in a week's time. England have one three-day game here before they play the first of three Tests and it is difficult to believe the current climate will allow them the practice they require.

"It's a concern," Fletcher said. "Should rain interrupt our practice match we could go into the first Test under-prepared."

England yesterday announ-ced there will be a slight reshuffle to their management team from October 2004. Tim Boon's position as assistant coach has been made full-time and England intend to take a specialist bowling coach away with them to Zimbabwe and South Africa. Malcolm Ashton, England's analyst, has not had his contract renewed.