What did England learn from the one-day international series with Sri Lanka?

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Bad weather in Bristol denied England the chance to claim a 3-0 clean sweep against Sri Lanka in the Royal London Series, but Eoin Morgan’s 50-over side can still reflect on a dominant showing.

With Pakistan next up to face the world champions, the PA news agency looks at some of the key discussion points.

How did England rate against Sri Lanka?

9 – Joe Root, David Willey, Chris Woakes
7 – Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow
6 – Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Tom Curran
5 – Moeen Ali, Sam Billings
4 – Adil Rashid
3 – Liam Livingstone

What did England learn about their ODI side?

England captain Eoin Morgan.
England captain Eoin Morgan (Gareth Copley/Pool)

Not as much as they might have had Sri Lanka been a more robust opponent. Mickey Arthur’s men looked distracted and demotivated at times, making for some easy pickings. An opportunity to take a first look at George Garton or reintegrate Liam Dawson and Tom Banton in the final match was also passed over in favour of consistency. What they did learn is that they are still a formidable ODI side without the key trio of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer.

Are there any causes for concern?

The rise in England’s white-ball fortunes over the past five years tallies precisely with Adil Rashid being given a cornerstone role in the bowling attack. He was well below his best over these three matches, restricted to a single tail-end wicket in the final match and also the hosts’ most expensive bowler. There is no reason to worry about the Yorkshireman’s long-term position but England will need him to step up a level or two against a much stronger Pakistan line-up.

Willey or won’t he?

David Willey takes a bow at the Kia Oval.
David Willey takes a bow at the Kia Oval (Nigel French/PA)

When David Willey was cut from England’s Twenty20 World Cup squad at the eleventh hour in 2019, it looked like a blow that might be too hard to bounce back from. Despite impressing on his recall last summer he was overlooked again for the winter tours. But the the 31-year-old is a hard man to keep down. Recalled after an injury to fellow left-armer Reece Topley he was named player-of-the-series after taking nine wickets at an average of just 16. Can he produce more of the same against Pakistan?

How long will Joe Root’s dominance last?

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Root remains unable to win a place in the Twenty20 side, but is fundamental to the ODI blueprint. His ability to compile runs without risk makes him a perfect foil for the power hitters and the Test skipper found things all too easy at Durham and the Kia Oval. He made 147 runs in two innings, facing 174 deliveries without offering up a single chance. He is currently ranked 15th in the world among 50-over batsman but sat at number two as recently as 2018. If he can ride his hot streak for another three games, he should shoot back up.

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