Cook pleased as Ballance, Jordan take big step up

England

Batsman Gary Ballance and all-rounder Chris Jordan stood at the fore of captain Alastair Cook's appreciation, as England beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs in Thursday's rain-affected first ODI at The Oval in London.

Batsman Gary Ballance and all-rounder Chris Jordan stood at the fore of captain Alastair Cook's appreciation, as England beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs in Thursday's rain-affected first ODI at The Oval in London.

Ballance scored a commanding 64, while Jordan's brisk 38 not out capped a formidable final total of 247 for six in 39 overs.

Seamer Jordan later gathered three key wickets, with the opposition slumping to a disappointing 144 all out. The quickfire cameo and fine figures earned the 25-year-old the Man of the Match award.

"I think Chris' four-day record is probably better than his one-day record, over the last couple of years," said Cook. "That's the impression I've got, and I really want to see him bowl with the red ball.

"What is really important to me is he seems to be able to handle international cricket. It's obviously a big step up – and at the moment, he's doing everything we're asking of him."

The left-handed Ballance, who was named in the playing XI ahead of the talented Michael Carberry, struck five boundaries during a commanding 72-ball innings. His contribution was particularly important in the wake of Cook's early departure for 11.

"It was a tough call between Gary and Carberry to play. Gary got the opportunity, and obviously took it very well," added Cook. "He is very composed and certainly knows his game. That's what impresses me.

"We certainly haven't seen the best of him either yet – his record for Yorkshire is almost second to none. He averages well over 50 in both forms of the game, and not many people do that anywhere."

The home side were very successful against pace ace Lasith Malinga, who conceded all of 71 from eight overs – and went without a wicket. The expense was a stark contrast to a telling performance in Sri Lanka's straightforward victory in the one-off T20I at the same venue earlier this week.

"It was very professional. The lads played him, Malinga, really well. The extra fielder up makes it hard for any bowler at the end, but the way the lads struck that extra 30 runs at the end made all of the difference," concluded Cook.

The second ODI will get underway at Chester-le-Street in Durham on Sunday. The third, fourth and fifth fixtures will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester, Lord's in London and Edgbaston in Birmingham on 28 and 31 May – and 3 June – respectively.

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