Cricket Expert & Columnist
England make bright start to new era with Sri Lanka ODI win, says Michael Atherton
England's ODI win over Sri Lanka is an ideal start to life under Peter Moores, says Michael Atherton.
Last Updated: 23/05/14 9:31am
Despite rain interruptions, Gary Ballance (64) and Ian Bell (50) helped steer England to 247-6 off 39 overs before Chris Jordan - who had also smashed 38 off 13 balls with the bat - took 3-25 as the tourists crumbled to 144 all out.
After a woeful winter, which saw Andy Flower step down as England supremo and Moores take charge of the national team for a second time, Atherton reckons Thursday's win was the ideal start to the new era.
"It was a very needed win," said the Sky Sports pundit. "Alastair Cook and Peter Moores will be really relieved.
"For all the talk of a fresh new approach I think they all felt they needed a win above all. This felt like the start of the international season proper and the start of England's run into the World Cup, as well.
"It was a terrific performance from England and that'll be a happy dressing room."
Sussex seamer Jordan took the man-of-the-match honours after his impressive display with both bat and ball, and former Sri Lanka batsman Russel Arnold had praise for the 25-year-old's efforts in both disciplines.
After seeing Jordan's short deliveries account for Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal and Nuwan Kulasekara to put England on course for victory, former Sri Lanka batsman Arnold said: "He's a very powerful lad and he's got shots around the wicket, although he prefers to go down the ground.
"Sri Lanka got it a little wrong - with the new batsman in they went short for length which played into Jordan's hands and then the pressure was on.
"He then bent his back later on [with the ball] and gave the Sri Lankans no chance at all. It was a good performance.
"Getting the ball to bounce will always cause a problem to sub-continent batsmen because they're used to the ball bouncing around waist height. It's all about challenging them and asking them a few questions and Jordan was able to do that today."
Atherton, meanwhile, was left impressed by another member of England's attack, Harry Gurney.
The 27-year-old Nottinghamshire left-arm quick returned figures of 2-20 and Atherton says the limited-overs specialist offers more than just restrictive death bowling.
"The impressive thing is Gurney's hurried people," he said.
"When I first saw him I thought 'is he going to be lively enough, quick enough for international cricket at this level'. There's no doubt that at the back end of an innings he's got tremendous skills - he can bowl that yorker nicely from over and around the wicket and he's got a lovely change of pace - but I like the fact he's hurried people with the new ball."
Arnold also credited Gurney, who made his international debut against Scotland earlier in May, and reckons his disguised slower ball is a notable attribute.
"His action is tough to pick up and it will take a while for people to get used to him," said Arnold.
"He's got the slower ball, which he disguises really well, and today he hurried a very good Sri Lankan batsman: we saw Kumar Sangakkara, who is a very good player of pace, getting stuck for time."