Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen cut disconsolate figures as England's dismal series finally draws to an end © Getty Images
Michael Vaughan has admitted that Sri Lanka deserved their series win and that England had been "beaten by a better team". Speaking as he prepared to fly home, he said that England needed to turn things around in New Zealand in March.
"I can't fault the effort of the team but there are a few areas of expertise where we have to improve," he said. "Any team going through a development stage goes through lows. I can't fault the players' commitment, but we just didn't have the expertise. I hope we can start developing a winning culture. Losing can become a habit and we have to make sure we turn that around.
"There's a long way to go before we can talk about being a force again. We have to regroup and go to New Zealand and start winning some Test matches again. We have enough talent and I am sure we can put it right in 2008.
"It has been a real learning curve for me and Peter [Moores, the new coach] to assess where the team is at. It's been hard to really balance the team when you are short of a good allrounder or someone to be the fifth bowler. We were up for the challenge, we just could not get our game in order.
"We started well in Kandy in the first Test but I felt that's where the series was lost because we couldn't make the good start work for us. We had a good opportunity here when we won the toss but we didn't get the ball in the right areas."
Moores said that the team's fielding had been disappointing. "We dropped catches. It's hard work to get a wicket so you can't afford to miss chances. We've lost some key fielders in key positions. We have to work hard to get new players in those positions."
He was, however, keen to stress that the players had got a lot out of the trip. "I think we've got masses out of it. If they use it wisely, they'll be better players for it. We've seen how tough Test matches can be, especially when you play away from home in other people's backyards. It will toughen some of our players up a bit."