England 246/7 (50 overs) (Cook 119, Pietersen 41, J Mendis 2/40)
Sri Lanka 249/4 (48.2 overs) (Chandimal 105*, M Jayawardene 79, Swann 2/32)
England once again underperformed with the bat, despite a captain’s knock from Alastair Cook, and Sri Lanka coasted home with ten balls and six wickets to spare, led by Mahela Jayawardene’s swashbuckling 79 and a somewhat contrived century for Dinesh Chandimal.
In a losing cause it may have been but Alastair Cook’s 119 was a clear statement of intent for England’s new ODI captain. Compiled at a strike rate of 83, it should have represented a decent foundation for a score of 300+ had any of England’s other senior names been able to bat around it. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and Cook found himself in the uncomfortable role of trying to single-handedly accelerate the scoring in the final few overs.
Kevin Pietersen continues to talk the talk but yet again failed to deliver a serious ODI score. He looked in fine touch on his way to 41 as England rebuilt from the early losses of Kieswetter and Trott but one loose sweep at Jeevan Mendis later and England were facing the prospect of a sub-par total and inevitable defeat.
While Sri Lanka are now a comfortable, settled side England have all the questions to answer. Only Pietersen and Morgan seem to have any idea of how to score runs against Sri Lanka’s multitude of slow bowling options while Malinga continues to cause problems for every batsman. Conversely, England’s bowlers are nowhere near their best – Stuart Broad still looks below par (despite bowling at a good pace) while Jade Dernbach has yet to make any significant impact. England may be forced into changes (including a reshuffle of the batting order) to try and turn things around with Samit Patel and Chris Woakes the most likely beneficiaries.