Sri Lanka 5-2 England: How Alastair Cook's side came up short in 2014
Last Updated: 08/10/18 3:46pm
Question marks hung over England’s ODI squad as they headed for Sri Lanka in 2014, with the World Cup just three months away.
With four defeats from their last five 50-over games, Alastair Cook's leadership of the white-ball team - never mind his place in it - had come under increasing scrutiny.
On paper, however, the tour of Sri Lanka - smarting from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of India just weeks earlier - offered Cook's team an ideal opportunity to rediscover their form…
First ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka 317-6 beat England 292 by 25 runs
Moeen Ali's maiden ODI century was not enough to stave off defeat as England paid the price for some wayward bowling, conceding 17 wides in the Sri Lanka innings.
Tillakeratne Dilshan (88) and Kusal Perera (59) got the home side off to a flyer with an opening stand of 120 before Mahela Jayawardene's 55 took them above the 300 mark.
Ali, who opened alongside Cook, struck 119 from 87 balls, but received little support apart from Ravi Bopara's knock of 65 as England were bowled out with 2.5 overs to spare.
What they said - Moeen Ali: "Obviously to get a hundred is nice, but we're very disappointed to have lost the game. I'm very happy opening the batting and I feel like I can go out and express myself.
"When I slowed things down, I played and missed. So I just said to myself 'keep playing'. I just play on instinct - I like to try to take the bowlers down."
Second ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka 186-2 beat England 185 by eight wickets
Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara shared an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 149 as the home side cruised to a comfortable victory in a rain-reduced contest of 45 overs.
England were dismissed for just 185, despite Bopara's watchful innings of 51, and it never looked remotely enough as Jayawardene (77no) and Sangakkara (67no) ensured that Sri Lanka stormed into a 2-0 series lead.
England discard Kevin Pietersen took to Twitter to call for Cook's resignation, with Sky Sports pundit Ian Botham also urging the skipper to stand down.
What they said - Ian Botham: "We need to liven it up and freshen it up. The whole thing looked very flat and very tedious out there. We are running out of time.
"Personally I would bring in Alex Hales at the top of the order with Moeen Ali - so that means the captain has to step down. I would make Morgan captain because I think that's just what he needs. He thinks a bit more out of the box."
Third ODI, Hambantota: England 236-5 beat Sri Lanka 242-8 by five wickets (D/L)
Jos Buttler's unbeaten 55 saw England clinch a revised target and complete only their second ODI victory in nine matches.
Buttler and Joe Root (48no) put on an unbroken stand of 84 to seal the win, with Moeen (58) giving England a solid base before he was run out in a mix-up with Hales.
However, Cook was obliged to give up the captaincy for the next game - the skipper was handed a one-match suspension due to England's slow over-rate, their second such offence within the year.
What they said - Sky Sports pundit David Lloyd: "You've got to make the opposition captain work. For two matches Angelo Mathews has had a stroll in the park and he's toyed with England but Buttler and Root put Sri Lanka under pressure in the field.
"It was a calculated innings from Buttler. I cannot stress enough that you've got to be clear in your mind about where you're going to score - and you're almost out-thinking the bowler."
Fourth ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka 267-4 beat England 265 by six wickets
With Eoin Morgan taking temporary charge, England again bowled their overs too slowly, incurring a collective fine, and continued their Colombo hoodoo as Sri Lanka extended their series advantage to 3-1.
Cook's replacement James Taylor struck his highest ODI score - 90 from 109 balls - but, despite Morgan's knock 62, England were bowled out for 265.
Sangakkara's innings of 86 set the home side on track for victory and captain Angelo Matthews (51no) steered them over the line with two balls to spare.
What they said - Eoin Morgan: "James Taylor played outstandingly well, to come in and score runs like he did, and it was nice for me to get some runs under my belt - that lifted my confidence a bit.
"Pace off was certainly the right option and it would have been nice to have another spinner. To get it down to the last over was outstanding - our seamers did well. It was alien conditions for them, they had to show different skills."
Fifth ODI, Kandy: England 240-5 beat Sri Lanka 239 by five wickets
Taylor strengthened his claims for a place in England's World Cup squad with another impressive knock of 68, while Root's unbeaten 104 sealed victory and kept the series alive.
Rain meant the match was played over two days, with Chris Woakes recording figures of 6-47 to restrict the home side to 239, despite another big innings of 91 from Sangakkara.
Taylor and Root added 104 for the third wicket and the Yorkshireman went on to complete his century with a slog sweep for six before Buttler scrambled the winning runs in the final over.
What they said - Angelo Matthews: "The pressure is still on England. We just have to be aggressive and positive. We're very confident.
"We don't need to panic - it's just that we didn't play well. We know that and we know the mistakes we made. There might be a few changes. Whoever comes in, we have to try to win the series."
Sixth ODI, Kandy: Sri Lanka 292-7 beat England 202 by 90 runs
The in-form Sangakkara sealed his side's series victory with a blistering knock of 112 in as many deliveries - tempered only by the fine he later received for showing dissent to umpire Bruce Oxenford.
Sangakkara was dropped on 41 by Cook, who then failed again with the bat as England were rolled over for just 202, with Joe Root's 55 their only score of substance.
Suranga Lakmal took 4-30, but the highlight of Sri Lanka's fielding display was a superb reverse-handed run-out by Lahiru Thirimanne to remove Buttler for 22.
What they said - England coach Peter Moores: "Alastair has said very clearly that he is very keen to carry on, and wants to remain as captain of England. He knows nobody has got the guarantee of that.
"I hear people say someone's unsackable. That would be a ridiculous comment. We always pick what we think is the best team - and that will be no different, moving forward."
Seventh ODI, Colombo: Sri Lanka 302-6 beat England 215 by 87 runs
Dilshan starred with both bat and ball as Sri Lanka inflicted England's fourth defeat in Colombo and sealed a 5-2 series victory.
The opener's knock of 101, supported by half-centuries from Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera, put the home side out of England's reach in a match that marked ODI farewell appearances for both Jayawardene and Sangakkara on home soil.
Root played through injury to lead England's run chase with 80, but received little support as they ended the series with another crushing defeat.
What they said - Alastair Cook: "I haven't played as well as I'd like on this tour.
"It hasn't gone well over the last 12 months with my batting in the one-day game, but I would feel very wrong to walk away."If that decision gets taken out of my hands then I have to hold my hands up and say I haven't been good enough but until that moment I'll do what I always do. I'm still incredibly hungry to do it."