England vs Sri Lanka ODI series: Peter Moores needs team and Cook to put it all together

Coach admits his side have not played a complete game as they face decider against Sri Lanka

England’s embryonic one-day side are beginning to resemble the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, you may remember, she was very good indeed but when she was bad she was horrid.

This engaging series against Sri Lanka has so far seen the best of England – at The Kia Oval and Old Trafford – and the worst – at Durham ICG – with the fourth match at Lord’s on Saturday having something of each. If the series keeps to a strict arithmetical pattern, the home side should prevail in the fifth and final tie at Edgbaston today, the sequence having been win, lose, win, lose.

On the other hand, if it follows what happened in the 2011 series between the teams, when England had to come from behind to win  3-2, the tourists, having been 2-1 down this time, will win today. Only Australia have a better one-day record against England in England than Sri Lanka. Of the 25 matches, these visitors have won 12, including 10 of the last 15, and lost 13.

Peter Moores, England’s coach, said at Edgbaston yesterday: “So far through 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’ll treat it like a final. We know we have a World Cup coming up, and there will be lots of big games in that.”

Alastair Cook, the England captain, has a top score of 30 not out in the series and needs some runs today Alastair Cook, the England captain, has a top score of 30 not out in the series and needs some runs today (PA)

It would be a blow to England to lose to subcontinental opposition in May on home turf but they have probably done enough to suggest that their aspirations for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year are not entirely forlorn. The middle-order batting has not been as efficient as it should have been and at Durham it was woeful.

Nor has the form of Alastair Cook, the captain, been the stuff of glory. Cook has played in three of the four matches with a top score of 30 not out and has twice been out early. The trouble with being Cook at present is that he needs big runs and lots of them soon.

Abundant faith has been put in Cook’s leadership of the one-day and Test teams, despite a turbulent winter when his teams lost and he was almost permanently out of form. He is more clearly in charge now than he was in the first year after taking over control of all team affairs from Andrew Strauss.

Cook speaks with authority, knowledge and candour, as when he delivered his judgement on Jos Buttler’s present lack of fitness for Test match selection. This seems a misguided verdict considering that richly talented individuals like Buttler, with something obviously different about them, come along so rarely but at least Cook was willing to make his point.

For all that, his clear authority and the respect in which he is held will diminish without runs. Others also fall into the category of needing to do a bit more, especially Eoin Morgan, and England could definitely do without losing five wickets or more with the score barely into three figures, as they have done twice in this series.

With each passing display of indifference, the omission of Alex Hales from the one-day side seems a misjudgement by the selectors. They have gone with Cook and Ian Bell as more skilled practitioners against the two new balls now in use but Hales, like Buttler, offers something different.

For Cook and Bell to work they have to provide more substantial starts more often than they have done lately. Perhaps they will, perhaps May in England is a different proposition from having to bat anywhere else at any time, perhaps the selectors know precisely what they are formulating. But with Morgan’s contributions minimal at present, England lack firepower and muscle until Ravi Bopara and Buttler enter the arena.

If the Edgbaston pitch resembles Lord’s, Sri Lanka have a fighting chance; if it is like that at Old Trafford, they will be up against it. Each side in the series has so far spurned the chance to bat first. Sri Lanka lost at The Oval, England lost at Durham and Lord’s and won at Old Trafford when the Manchester skies dictated no other possible course but bowling.

Above all, Edgbaston deserves a game. Three of its most recent big matches – a Test match between England and West Indies two years ago, the Champions Trophy final and an ODI between England and Australia last year – have all been severely affected by rain. The forecast for Tuesday is reasonable and 100 overs look possible. That is if these mercurial sides are capable of providing them.

Edgbaston: Fifth ODI details

Probable teams: England

AN Cook (Captain), IR Bell, GS Ballance, JE Root,  EJG Morgan, JC Buttler (wkt), RS Bopara, CJ Jordan, JC Tredwell, JM Anderson, HF Gurney

Sri Lanka MDKJ Perera, TM Dilshan, KC Sangakkara (wk), DPMD Jayawardene, AD Mathews (capt), HRDL Thirimanne, SMA Priyanjan, LD  Chandimal, KMDN Kulasekara,  HMRKB Herath, SL Malinga.

Pitch report Under lights a competitive score is about 250.

Umpires C Gaffaney (NZ) and M Gough (Eng)

Third umpire M Erasmus (SA)

Match referee J Crowe (NZ)

ODI series tied at 2-2

1st ODI Eng by 81 runs (D/L)

2nd ODI SL  win by 157 runs

3rd ODI Eng win by 10 wkts

4th ODI SL win by 7 runs

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk