What did we learn from England's ODI series victory against Sri Lanka?

England dominated with a 3-0 victory on home soil against a Sri Lankan side still in transition.

What did we learn from England's ODI series victory against Sri Lanka?
Have England found the perfect balance in their squad? (Photo: Getty Images)

After a dismal World Cup performance in 2015, England's one day international team have been under scrutiny for the last year. Yet their latest triumph against a Sri Lankan side, albeit clearly missing legends such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra, will put some of that criticism to bed.

The transition of the openers

The standout performance in the England team was that of Jason Roy. The opener has always shown potential with an aggressive and exciting game, yet has often lacked the discipline to convert numerous starts into big scores. Though he enjoyed an excellent series this summer, top scoring with 316 runs, including an incredible 162, at an average of 105, rightfully earning him the Player of the Series accolade.

Roy's opening partner Alex Hales seemed to have settled into his England role quicker than his partner, yet the pair seem to be able to now build a partnership together, an achievement many English openers have struggled to replicate over the past decade. The pair made an outstanding unbeaten 255 in the the second match, the highest England ODI partnership for six years and fifth greatest of all time.

Roy and Hales can be a dangerous partnership (photo : Getty Images )
Roy and Hales can be a dangerous partnership (photo : Getty Images )

An aggressive approach

Since taking a more offensive approach to the shorter version of the sport in the last couple of years, England have often been criticised for not finding a balance between attacking and defending at the right moments. Captain Eoin Morgan urged the fans to keep behind the team after the World Cup disappointment and the new formula came close to working in the Twenty20 World Cup earlier in the year. 

The evidence of a new era is clear to see. Since the World Cup last year, England average a strike rate teetering on 100, whereas before the event they could manage just 83. With the team consistently making scores beyond 300, England are beginning to prove they are a force to be reckoned with against anyone.

Part of the reason for such success is their ability to bat right down the order. Few will forget a pulsating first match which saw number eleven batsman Liam Plunkett smash a last ball six to earn England a tie. Even before those heroics, Chris Woakes produced the highest score by a number eight batsman with an unbeaten 95 as England recovered from 82-6 to chase down 286.

England are blessed with all-rounders (photo : Getty Images )
England are blessed with all-rounders (photo : Getty Images )

The perfect formula?

England seem to have found a winning formula with their team. Two explosive batsman who have matured to be able to produce high scores are followed by the classy innings constructors in Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. They are then followed with the match winners with the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, ably supported by bowlers who can bat if required.

England's bowling also seems to be tighter. Liam Plunkett took a flurry of wickets, Adil Rashid was economical and dangerous, whilst David Willey picked up four wickets in the fifth match. However, the trio and the rest of the cast including Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali will face greater tests against better opposition.

As for Sri Lanka they are certainly still in a period of transition. There were the occasional inspiring performances from the likes of Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews, though they have a long way to go if they wish to match the best teams in the world.

Yet for England it is a case of bring on Pakistan in a couple of months time...