England’s one-day bandwagon may continue to roll on after victory over Sri Lanka made it nine series wins in a row but captain Eoin Morgan is keen for his side to stay grounded.
The fourth one-day international followed a familiar pattern in Pallekele, with the world’s number one side proving too good for their hosts but thunderstorms preventing a full game from unfolding.
The tourists were home and dry in the pavilion when they awarded an 18-run win on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, and with it an unassailable 3-0 lead.
No England side have ever won more consecutive series, though any claim this team have as record-breakers in that regard is compromised somewhat by their upset at the hands of Scotland in a standalone clash in June.
“It’s nice, but I think we have to continue being honest with ourselves,” said Morgan.
“We have played some good cricket along the way and the series that probably stand out are India in particular, Australia and New Zealand away. But we haven’t played great cricket so far in this tour.
“We are quite honest with where we’re at and where we need to improve. Today it was fielding, we were quite rusty, and we maybe could have been more disciplined in the areas that we bowled.”
England were set a challenging target of 274, and were comfortably in front of the DLS par at 132 for two when the rains set in.
Yet their margin would have dropped to just five runs had they lost a third wicket. That they did not was down to a costly error in the field, Joe Root reprieved by a no-ball call when umpire Lyndon Hannibal spotted an extra player outside the 30-yard circle.
“If it was not a no-ball we could have won the game but that’s our mistake and we are taking that,” said Morgan’s dejected opposite number Dinesh Chandimal.
Morgan admitted it was a closer equation than he would have liked, adding: “Myself and Joe got a couple of boundaries away and we were well ahead of it but it certainly would have brought DLS right up if Joe had been given out. The umpire called it straight away, I didn’t even notice it.”
England are now likely to make several changes for Tuesday’s dead rubber in Colombo. Sam Curran and Mark Wood have sat on the sidelines all series and can expect to feature, with Liam Plunkett and Joe Denly also probables after joining up with the squad this week.
“I think there’s an opportunity to make some changes, particularly the guys who haven’t played yet,” said Morgan.
“There’s guys who have played who haven’t really participated yet – Jos (Buttler) has only had one bat – but we have to try and make the most of what is probably a bad situation with the rain.”
Jonny Bairstow will go for a scan in Colombo on Sunday after missing the win with a twisted right ankle sustained playing football on the eve of the match.
“We’ll know more tomorrow. I haven’t seen him most of the day, he’s been icing it,” said Morgan, who also confirmed the much-loved kick around would not be banned as a result of the incident.