England head coach Peter Moores says he will treat tomorrow’s decider in the Royal London ODI series like a final with the score tied at 2-2 ahead of the fifth game at Edgbaston.
Sri Lanka left London victorious on Saturday after a Jos Buttler century was not enough to stop the tourists win the game by a narrow 7 run margin which kept the series alive in a topsy-turvy series.
After a convincing win for Moores’ men at the Oval both teams exchanged crushing victories to give England a 2-1 lead before the tightest game of the series was edged by Sri Lanka as Lasith Malinga showed his class to defend an impressive score of 300.
However, the talk of the show was Buttler who came to the crease in a situation far from ideal with the hosts 111-5 after 28 overs and time running out to mount a serious challenge. The Lancashire man stepped up to the plate and smashed 121 off just 74 balls before losing his wicket in the last over.
He actually hit 15 of England’s 20 boundary shots which included four maximums while the only other player to keep up with a healthy strike rate was Ravi Bopara who struck 51 off 47 balls but that was also in vain.
This current series is seen as the start of preparation for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and Moores is keen to emphasise England’s thought process ahead of the decider in Birmingham.
“We'll treat it like a final,” the former Lancashire coach admitted to ecb.co.uk.
"We know we have a World Cup coming up, and there will be a lot of big games in that. It would be great to win the series, and we'll put everything we've got into it.
"So far throughout the series, we haven't quite put the complete game together.
"The closest one was at the Oval. I hope we'll do that tomorrow. We've shown we can beat them, and we can be very competitive.
"We're pretty confident that if we play well we have got a good chance of a win."
Performances have been improving since the horror show at Durham saw Alastair Cook’s men bowled out for just 99. After bouncing back with a resounding 10-wicket victory at Old Trafford a high intensity performance followed at Lord’s and Moores is backing his side to take the series tomorrow.
“One thing I give the lads credit for is that, at the moment, the indicators are we are getting better.
“Our fielding is one indicator, it has got better throughout the whole series. Our batting has yet to fully fire at the top of the order, but we have at the back half. We just have to put all that together tomorrow.
“We are desperate to get a series win. Would it be great? Of course it would be great. We would love it.
"When you go into any contest, you have always got to accept if they play well then you have got to take it on the chin.”