London: Twelve weeks after the World Cup, England and Sri Lanka meet in a five-match one-day international series starting Tuesday at The Oval with both teams looking to hit back from disappointing performances at cricket's showpiece event.
England was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Sri Lanka, who went on to emerge runners up in the final against India in Mumbai.
England has three captains for each format of the sport and will be led by new ODI skipper Alastair Cook. He took the job briefly on the Bangladesh tour in 2010-11, making the best possible start by winning all three ODIs and both tests.
Cook has already made a better start to his captaincy career than Stuart Broad, who led England to a nine-wicket defeat in the Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka at Bristol on Saturday.
Cook has not played an ODI since taking on Bangladesh in Chittagong on March 5. Following Andrew Strauss's retirement from ODI internationals after England's disastrous World Cup campaign, Cook will have time to make the team his own ahead of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand if he can adapt his test-style batting to suit the shorter format.
Cook attracted criticism for his slow scoring in the drawn Lord's test and there are questions about whether he is he the right man for the job. England was 149-2 overnight and working toward a declaration on the fifth morning. Cook scored only 26 of the 111 runs added in the two-hour morning session.
In 26 ODIs, he has scored 858 runs at 33.00 with a strike rate of 71.38. He has hit only one six in his ODI career, off Mahmudullah in Mirpur.
England has made numerous changes to its World Cup team with only five players surviving, though Tim Bresnan was unavailable when the squad was selected because he is recovering from a calf injury. Ian Bell should be back after being dropped from the T20 side on Saturday, his first omission from any England side since September.
Tillekeratne Dilshan is set to return for Sri Lanka after missing the third test at the Rose Bowl because of a fractured thumb after being hit by Chris Tremlett in the Lord's test. Sri Lanka has also changed its side because Muttiah Muralitharan has retired and Upul Tharanga is banned for failing a drug test. Allrounder Angelo Mathews returns after a thigh injury.
England was expected to win the test series, but Sri Lanka is an excellent one-day side and the bookmakers reckon this series will be a closer contest. Overall, Sri Lanka has won 19 and lost six of their last 28 ODIs, with three no results. Away from home, the Sri Lankans have won 10 of their past 15 matches. England has 13 wins, 14 losses and one tie in its past 28 games.
There has only been one previous five-match one-day series between the two sides in England. That was in 2006 and Sri Lanka won all five matches by convincing margins. Sri Lanka is third in the ICC rankings and England fifth, with a 13-point gap between the teams. Another 5-0 victory would take Sri Lanka to second place above India and behind Australia. A 5-0 win to England would ensure both sides are level on points in fourth place.
Head to head
Overall: Played 45: England 23, Sri Lanka 22.
In England: Played 15: England 8, Sri Lanka 7.
At The Oval
Played 2: England 1, Sri Lanka 1.
England: Played 15: won 17, lost 15, 1 no result. England has only won two of its last 10 ODIs at The Oval.
Sri Lanka: Played 5: won 2, lost 3.
England has only won two of its past 10 ODIs at The Oval. The last time the two sides played each other at The Oval, Sri Lanka made 319-8 and won by 46 runs. Jayasuriya made 122, took 3-51 and was man-of-the-match.
Kevin Pietersen was dropped from the ODI side last summer after 16 innings without scoring a 50, and he responded with a rant on Twitter.
He appears to have rediscovered his mojo in recent days, hitting an entertaining 85 in the Rose Bowl test and making 41 off 27 balls in the T20 on Saturday.
His last hundred was when he was captain, an undefeated 111 against India in Cuttack on Nov. 26 2008, the night of the deadly Mumbai attacks. Since losing the captaincy he has scored 601 runs at 23.12, with two 50s. Before that, he has scored 3,047 runs at 48.27 with seven 100s and 20 half-centuries.
Sanath Jayasuriya will play his first ODI since December 2009 and will then reportedly retire. He turns 42 later this week and this will be his 445th ODI. Only Sachin Tendulkar with 453 has played more. Jayasuriya impressed with the ball in the T20 game, dismissing Pietersen and Ravi Bopara with his slow left-arm darting deliveries.
He has hit 1,500 fours and 270 sixes in his career and scored 13,428 runs at 32.43, with a strike rate of 91.21. More than half of his runs have come in fours and sixes — 6,000 in fours and 1,620 in sixes.
The 14-man England squad has scored 13,521 runs between them, only 93 more than Sanath.