England's quest for redemption underway

England

England commenced the first steps required for forgiveness, in the wake of a heavy Test series defeat to Australia and early World Twenty20 exit, by comfortably beating Sri Lanka in Thursday's rain-affected first ODI at The Oval in London.

England commenced the first steps required for forgiveness, in the wake of a heavy Test series defeat to Australia and early World Twenty20 exit, by comfortably beating Sri Lanka in Thursday's rain-affected first ODI at The Oval in London.

A modest win over Scotland in a one-off ODI in Aberdeen and heavy defeat to the Sri Lankans in a sole Twenty20 International earlier this week left plenty for new head coach Peter Moores – and assistant Paul Fabrace – to deliver.

While a one-nil lead in a lengthy five-match series is not a big margin, the nature of the 81-run triumph – convincing, professional – will please players, management, fans and pundits alike.

All-rounder Chris Jordan – the veritable face of English Cricket's new era – enjoyed an outstanding performance. Duly named Man of the Match, Jordan capped a final total of 247 for six with a career-best 38 not out – and later snared three key wickets in reducing the opposition to a severely insufficient 144 all out.

Inclement weather had reduced England's innings to a mere 39 overs, while calculations deduced by the Duckworth-Lewis system allowed the Sri Lankans a maximum of 32. A full 50 for both teams would've been ideal, but the promise of sunnier skies and dryer conditions for the second ODI at Chester-le-Street in Durham on Sunday will oblige.

Opener Ian Bell and middle-order batsman Gary Ballance cherished fine half-centuries, while the talented Joe Root's audacious shot selection ensured an enterprising 45. Pace ace Lasith Malinga endured expensive figures of none for 71 in eight overs – his worst against England, ever.

The visitors, in turn, were unable to match – or even marginally challenge. An order boasting the experienced services of Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene flattered to deceive. Jordan and fellow seamers James Anderson and Harry Gurney were thorough in dismantling the pursuit.

Gurney's dismissal of Sangakkara – for a maiden ODI wicket – was particularly memorable. The veteran left-hander was bowled by the left-armer's threatening angle and subsequent seam movement.

Spinner James Tredwell's three complementary breakthroughs were pivotal, too, while defeat would have arrived considerably sooner for Sri Lanka – were it not for medium-pacer Ravi Bopara's dropped return catch and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler's belated missed stumping.

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