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The Surfer

Problems still persist for England

England's victory in the final ODI against Sri Lanka showed that their spluttering batting order is still missing a few parts

Akhila Ranganna
Akhila Ranganna
25-Feb-2013
England's victory in the final ODI against Sri Lanka showed that their spluttering batting order is still missing a few parts. The pattern of England's innings here was familiar, writes Barney Ronay in the Observer: an expertly laid platform but no real launch, albeit on a difficult pitch that offered some uneven bounce.
England have recovered well to take this series, but the back half of the batting is a knot they must still unravel. Bell clearly has to come in early or not at all. Kieswetter would be a more intimidating presence at six, but a straight swap would leave Bell and Cook as too refined an opening pair. So the permutations flicker. Three stately Test-honed batsmen into one top six won't fit. And in the end – like the open stands at Old Trafford's Brian Statham end – something is simply going to have to go by the time England continue their own rebuild against India later in the summer.
Echoing a similar view in the Sunday Telegraph, Steve James writes that the pitch at Old Trafford was not the sort England needed.
Yes, even though they prevailed yesterday, England must improve in subcontinental conditions, but that has been the case for some considerable time. They will have plenty of opportunities this winter against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In the same newspaper, Simon Hughes writes that England are very good when the pitches have pace and bounce. They look vulnerable when they don’t.
In his column in the Mail on Sunday James Anderson lists three reasons why the series victory over Sri Lanka was particularly satisfying.

Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo