England v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, The Oval

Old guard takes charge to herald new era

England's performance bore no resemblance to the fatigued 10-wicket loss in the World Cup quarter-final three months ago

Andrew McGlashan at The Oval

June 28, 2011

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Alastair Cook issues directions in the field, England v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, The Oval, June 28 2011
Alastair Cook was the new face at the helm, but England's performance owed plenty to former stalwarts of the one-day team © AFP
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The thunderstorm which held up play for three hours at The Oval wouldn't have looked out of place in Colombo, but England's performance bore no resemblance to the fatigued 10-wicket loss in the World Cup quarter-final three months ago. It was vibrant, energetic, confident and aggressive. Yet this isn't actually a new era of one-day cricket for England because there are a few too many familiar faces on show for that to be true.

Even though only five of this side played in Colombo in March, there haven't been wholesale changes by the selectors. James Anderson, reigniting his one-day career with 4 for 18 which were his best figures since November 2009 against South Africa, and Jade Dernbach were both in the squad, while Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen would have played except for injury. Really, the only significant changes have been at the top of the order with Craig Kieswetter back and Alastair Cook as the new captain along with Samit Patel's recall. He was tellingly pushed aside by Tim Bresnan who had been back in squad for a single day.

Adding further weight to the theory that, rather than this being a new-look team, it's more the older version with a bit of touching-up was the performance of Anderson. It's a well-known story that, moments after England secured the Ashes in Sydney back in January, he curled up in the dressing room and fell into a deep sleep. Despite a three-week break at home he was never the same during the rest of the winter and cut a forlorn figure in the closing days of the World Cup. Although his Test place was never in danger there was talk that it may have brought down the curtain on his one-day career.

He couldn't have asked for a better haul of wickets as he removed Sri Lanka's senior trio, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. They were ideal conditions for Anderson with a heavy atmosphere conducive to swing but he made them count. "For two days it was lovely sunshine, then today it rained again," Dilshan said wryly. "It was helpful for the bowlers."

"It was a frustrating winter in the one-day form for the team and me personally," Anderson admitted. "I felt like I didn't perform to the standards I set myself. I was very disappointed and just glad to keep my place in the squad and get a place in the XI. Happily the wickets came for me but I thought we bowled brilliantly as a unit. Whatever it was during the winter I put it behind me at start of the season with Lancashire and then in the Test series. I've worked really hard, there are a lot of improvements I have to make on my one-day game and I've started on those things."

Anderson, though, didn't quite get everything he wished for. "He fully deserves his four wickets and was begging me for one more over to get his fifth," Cook said. "It was an outstanding performance up front but especially from Jimmy. To get their dangermen out early got us well ahead of the game."

Cook's satisfaction will come from the victory rather than his personal achievement. All that can be said about his 5 off three balls was that strike-rate wasn't an issue. Being caught down the leg side - even though bowlers will disagree - was unlucky. "That's the game, I shouldn't have edged it so fine," he said.

However, Cook will be very keen for this series not to be dominated by whether he makes runs or not, and for that to be the case he needs England to win. "It doesn't get much better than that, to win by such a big margin in a shorter game like that was a fantastic effort from the lads," he said. "But let's not get too carried with how the team did or how I did. It's just a good start. We've got to keep our feet on the floor."

There was a hint of irony that at 32-overs per side the contest was actually closer to the Twenty20 version that England made such a hash of on Saturday (there were even six Powerplay overs left) than the full one-day international they were due to play. When play resumed at 5pm after the thunderstorms England were left with 25 overs to build a total and the way they did it was far more encouraging than what was on display in Bristol.

A pitch with more pace enabled Kieswetter to hit through the line, Pietersen was sparky before pulling a long hop to midwicket and Eoin Morgan added the gloss as he so often does. Then, just as it appeared another England one-day innings would fizzle out, the fit-again Bresnan hit 23 off 14 balls as 210 turned into 230.

In his second coming as an international cricketer Kieswetter has promised a tighter technique and more selectiveness, but without losing any of the natural flair that attracted the selectors. An innings of 61 off 56 balls suggests he has found a good balance.

"He can hit the ball really hard and showed it here, that's why he's in the side and it's great for him to get back to scoring runs straight away," Cook said. "He's worked really hard, let's not get carried away with one innings but good things come when you put the hours in. That's why you do it."

That praise of Kieswetter was the second time Cook mentioned not getting carried away. He isn't the first England one-day captain to start, or resume, the job with victory. Paul Collingwood did it in 2007, Kevin Pietersen in 2008 and Andrew Strauss in 2009. None of those reigns ended happily. Cook knows he will have his fair share of tough days in the job and far tougher questions to answer.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (July 1, 2011, 4:28 GMT)

@subbass, same here,love reading your historical records..your records way below 15 yrs back,but for the last 15 yrs u havnt won a series against India in home and away as well..oh I forgot India won the first t20 world cup..it means u sure need to catch up in cricket rather than asking others to do..oh historically west indies and Australia are always better than England..

Posted by subbass on (June 30, 2011, 15:28 GMT)

mathewjohn2176 - say what you like facts are facts. Historically England are far better than india, and we have won a t20 world cup or don't they count ? Plus getting to several finals of the 50 over format. I'm not even gonna bother checking our overall record v Sri Lanka, suffice to say it is far better also. You guys still have a long way to go to be better pverall at cricket, the records don't lie, they tell the truth. You contradict yourself right away by saying don't live in the past then mention the last 15 years right away ! haha Keep going it's good fun reading you.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 30, 2011, 6:04 GMT)

@subbass, England started the game cricket and in the beginning of course they were good as per your records.But u can't live in past ..England never beated India for last 15 years( it can change anytime)..By the way you say India need to catch you up as cricketing nation? Funny huh,u never won any single odi world cup where as India won 2 ,they ranked no1 in test as well where England team yet to reach that place.oh population don't matter as we in srilanka ,we have very less population but we already won a world cup. Hmm I don't know why half the England team are from south Africa,I guess they all play football.sure u need to catch up in cricket..

Posted by Hells_XI on (June 30, 2011, 5:20 GMT)

@5wombats : India too will have zaheer khan,sehwag gambhir n tendulkar

Posted by subbass on (June 30, 2011, 0:32 GMT)

@ khiladisher you can go on about India been dominant over England all you like, and in recent times yes, you have done well, but the current records show that out of 99 tests England has won 34, India 19 and 46 have been draws. You have some way to go to catch us up as a cricket nation ! And you have over a billion people to choose from and it's the only sport you actually play, we have a populaltion of around 50 million and Football is by far the most played sport.

With the greatest of respect of course !

Posted by 5wombats on (June 29, 2011, 21:29 GMT)

@landl47; You beast! Now why did you have to go and dredge up the subject of India's "mighty batting line-up" - Oh! sorry, it was @khiladisher; Careful guy England's bowling at home is better than West Indies bowling at home! and big words, even written in capitals count for zip. Australians have an expression for this; it's called "Tall Poppy Syndrome" , we English know this as "the bigger they come, the harder they fall". The problem for you @Hells_XI is that as a matter of fact England DO have Anderson, Trott and Cook!

Posted by Sarlana on (June 29, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

khaildosar@ The ratings does not mean if Bangladesh won against india then Bangladesh should be No.1 for they lost next.....

Posted by khiladisher on (June 29, 2011, 12:55 GMT)

THIA IS FOR ALL MY ENGLISH FRIENDS ,WHO THINK THAT BEATING A WEAK AUSSSIE TEAM IN THE ASHES MAKES THEM #1 IN THE WORLD-GUYS U ARE SADLY MISTAKEN-ICC CRICKET RATING SAYS THAT THE GREAT INDIAN TEAM IS ON 128 POINTS AND THE ENGLISHMEN ARE FAR BEHIND ON ONLY 117 POINTS- THE ENGLISH TEAM HAS NOT WON AGAINST THE WORLD CHAMPIONS IN TEST MATCH SERIES SINCE 1984 IN INDIA,THATS 27 YEARS-ITS A LONG TIME GUYS.COMING TO YOUR HOME CONDITIONS WE RULE THERE TOO-ENGLAND HAS NOT WON A SERIES AGAINST INDIA IN ENGLAND FOR LAST 15 YEARS.SO TO ASSUME THAT THAT ENGLAND WILL WIN THIS SERIES IS A BIG JOKE- PREDICT ENGLAND TO LOOSE 2-0 OR 3-0.IN CASE I FORGET TO MENTION THAT INDIANS ARE 2 TIME WORLD CHAMPIONS IN ODI AND 1 TIME WC IN 20-20 AND ALSO HAVE WON THE ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY 1 TIME,NOT TO FORGET THE BENSON AND HEDGES MINI WORLD CUP IN 1985- IF MY MEMORY SERVES RIGHT I DO NOT RECOLLECT ENGLAND WINNING ANYTHING AT ALL SINCE 1877.SO ALL THESEH FACTS SUGGEST THAT INDIA WILL WIN EASY THIS TIME .

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 11:11 GMT)

@CricSL :lolz BCCI selectors are just befooling outside ppl lyk u..the real bench strength of India has not got chance to play yet...Vat I see is tht these r the real bech strength of India in test cricket : Pujara,Rahane,Badrinath,Manish Pandey,Rohit etc...Pujara and Rahane have been our best India A's overseas players and lyk Badri who is the highest scorer in Ranji cricket they have been scoring heavily in domestic cricket too...Pujara is injured and Rahane has not been picked so far by our selectors...Badrinath isnt given a chance by his CSK captain Dhoni to play this series vs WI so far.Rohit and Manish Pandey r also scoring heavily in Domestic cricket n all these players have good technique...@neil99 : cricket is a team game..vats the fun in being top 10 ratings ven u cant win your country the game other than creating personal records..@landl47 : getting out below 250 n still domination of test match by weak indian bowling lineup...so where's the problem 2 u to lame about???

Posted by anver777 on (June 29, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

It was certainly Anderson's day at the Oval........bowled & fielded superbly & very deservedly won the MOM award !!!! Well Played !!

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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