Peter Moores’ plans look to be coming together after his new look England side beat Sri Lanka by a resounding 81 runs.
Moores’ first competitive ODI since taking charge for the second time was heavily affected by rain, but in truth Sri Lanka never looked close to reaching their target of 226, set via the Duckworth Lewis method.
Importantly though, England’s inexperienced side looked more comfortable than ever. Sussex’s Chris Jordan earned most of the plaudits, scoring 38 off 13 balls to set England on their way before going on to take three wickets.
T20 captain Eoin Morgan had launched a damning attack on his bowlers following Tuesday’s 9-run defeat to Sri Lanka, but as the two sides faced off again, even Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara were no match for a fierce attack.
Harry Gurney will have been delighted to take his first ODI wicket, and it was a famous one too as Sangakkara edged the ball onto his stumps. He would also go on to take the wicket of Sachithra Senanayake towards the end, but the most relieving performance must be attributed to James Tredwell.
Of all England’s bowlers, it is vital that the Kent spinner performs as the side continue the search for Graeme Swann’s permanent replacement. Moeen Ali’s county performances have thrown the Worcestershire man into contention, but Tredwell certainly staked his claim for a regular place, dismissing Mahela Jayawardene at a crucial moment, before sending Angelo Matthews and Thisara Perera back to the pavilion shaking their heads.
With the bat, Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance once again reminded England selectors of his credentials. Another fine performance saw Ballance notch up 64 runs, making him top-scorer and proving that he is now ready to cement a place in a middle order that has effectively been decimated by the departures of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.
Amongst some relatively new faces, Ian Bell will also have grabbed Moores’ attention, shrugging off criticism levelled at his position high up the order with a cool half century, eventually being caught out by Lasith Malinga off Matthews’ bowling.
The result will ease the pressure on beleaguered captain Alistair Cook, who has had a torrid time of late. Former captain Michael Vaughan has said that getting the side back to winning ways would be the toughest test of Cook's leadership to date. However, in spite of concerns that England’s mishmash of new players would not gel, it was a victory that has done a lot to restore the feel-good factor around the camp.
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