Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has blamed his side's poor batting for the series loss to England after conceding an unbeatable 3-1 lead with one match to play. A comfortable five-wicket win at the Premadasa Stadium sealed England's first ODI triumph in the subcontinent since 1987.

"I don't think we've batted well for the last three games," said Jayawardene. "One or two individuals have been having good days but we've not been batting as a unit to put runs on the board for the bowlers to bowl at."

He admitted England were the better side and that they deserved to win the series. "Losing matches is not easy for us, especially at home, but credit should go to England because they've played some really good cricket. Some of their players have performed really well and they've basically outplayed us in the last few games."

Paul Collingwood, the England captain, termed his side's comeback "unbelievable" after they won their first one-day series in Sri Lanka despite losing the series opener.

"Before we came here a lot of people wrote us off. We lost that first game and the way the lads have bounced back has been unbelievable. They've learnt and adapted new skills and showed a lot of character.

"I am very, very proud and it was a very proud moment when we knocked those runs off. I'm proud of all the players that have been involved and the management have been fantastic."

He said the series victory against India had given the team a lot of confidence."We knew the areas we needed to improve and the key has been the belief we have built up over the last few weeks, especially the India series which was a big thing for us - that belief was not going to go after one game."

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen scored half-centuries to help England coast to victory after the bowlers had restricted Sri Lanka to 211.