England Determined to Hit Back
England will enter the NatWest Series hoping the outcome of last night's Twenty20 international at the Rose Bowl does not carry the same significance as last summer.
England's emphatic 100-run victory over Australia in the corresponding fixture last year sowed the seeds for their outstanding Ashes series triumph.
But as they prepare for the start of their five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, which begins at Lord's tomorrow, they will hope their two-run defeat to Sri Lanka does not carry as much relevance.
Needing nine runs from Dilhara Fernando's final over to overhaul Sri Lanka's 163, neither Geraint Jones nor debutant Tim Bresnan proved able to claim the boundary to secure the triumph.
Yet England are determined not to dwell on their failure and are instead focussing on how close they came to overhauling Sri Lanka and claiming a boost prior to the start of the one-day series.
"We thought we'd it won," admitted opener Marcus Trescothick, who was run out in the penultimate over after hammering 72 off only 57 balls.
"We needed one more boundary in that over and we were just one ball away from winning it really, it was that close.
"It was so close to being almost the perfect innings really, just by the timing of it, and if I hadn't been run out there we probably would have won the game."
England's narrow failure was all the more impressive for the way they overcame a distressing injury to Middlesex batsman Ed Joyce in the second over of the day.
Joyce, chasing down a shot from man-of-the-match Mahela Jayawardene, fell to the ground after his right ankle seemed to crumple underneath him and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
England feared he had broken his ankle but X-rays later confirmed a soft tissue injury and Trescothick admitted: "I feared the worst when it first happened.
"I was the first to get down there to see him and you could tell he was in agony so if it's turned out better than it was expected then great.
"When you see an incident like that and the ambulance is on and you see one of your mates in pain it's never nice and I think it just took us a couple of overs to get back into it again."
England will be boosted by Worcestershire seamer Kabir Ali in their squad, who has replaced Glen Chapple after he sustained an abdominal strain during the victory over Ireland on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka will be further strengthened by seamer Chaminda Vaas and prolific off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, both of whom missed the Twenty20 match to give them a break after their outstanding performances during the drawn Test series.
"Murali and Vaas will probably come back into the side, which will give us a bit more experience in the line-up, but if we don't do the basics then we won't win matches," added Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene.
"It's a good victory, but we have to make sure we do the right things again in the next game."