Sri Lanka vs England: Visitors in search for new captain to replace Alastair Cook...because he faces one-match ban for slow over rate

England finally recorded a much-needed victory at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium but rain and delays saw match reduced

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The Independent Online

England will leave the south Sri Lankan jungle with a win under their belts at last, but almost certainly in search of a new captain to deputise for Alastair Cook in their next match.

Cook was indebted to half-centuries from his opening partner Moeen Ali (58) and then Jos Buttler (55no) in an unbroken stand of 84 with Joe Root as England chalked up a five-wicket victory with eight balls to spare in pursuit of a Duckworth-Lewis target of 236 in the third one-day international.

They therefore head back to Colombo on Thursday just 2-1 down, with four to play, and feasible prospects after all of delivering Cook's first ODI series victory in his last six attempts.

Yet even as England celebrated back at the team hotel, after the latest of finishes, it was clear the likelihood is that Cook will soon hear confirmation of his one-match ban for a tardy over rate in the rain-shortened match at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium - to add to a similar transgression at Cardiff last summer.

It is far from clear who can step into Cook's shoes back in the capital - because of the two obvious contenders, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan, one has just been dropped and the other is in a miserable run of form.

Sri Lanka v England third ODI report

Cook at least could be happy with an overdue win which might yet kick-start England's World Cup winter.

"It is just great to get one on the board, and (to be) back in the series," he said.

"I don't think we played our best today - but to get over the line, after not doing that in the first two, will give the lads a lot of confidence.

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Joe Root and Jos Buttler celebrate

"I think a side full of confidence, and winning a lot, would probably have found it a bit easier than we did.

"In an absolute ideal world, we'd have cruised it with two or three down.

"On that wicket, we probably should have done."

After three wickets fell for eight runs, much depended on Root and Buttler.

"You probably saw a side not used to winning on this tour," added their captain.

"But that doesn't take anything away from the way Jos and Rooty played from 150 for five. The way they responded was fantastic."

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England cricketer Jos Buttler plays a shot during the third One Day International

As for his likely suspension, Cook said: "It will be what it will be.

"We'll plead our case. It is incredibly tough on a big ground, the ball going everywhere in the last few overs - and also how long it takes the batsman to come out.

"I don't know whether that will get me anywhere. We will see."

PA

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