England plan response

Ecb Logo Gutter Icon 135x160
Peter Moores

Peter Moores © Getty Images

England may have slipped to fifth in the Test rankings following a 1-0 defeat in Sri Lanka but plans will this week be drawn up to return to loftier heights.

Selection for the tour of New Zealand will take place over the festive period and experienced former captain Andrew Strauss will be the leading outsider to come under consideration.

ECBtv sri lanka tour 120x60

Owais Shah did not play a Test in the three-match series in Sri Lanka while Ravi Bopara, who built a compelling case for inclusion, finished with three consecutive ducks.

“There will always be tough decisions and the tougher the better in some ways,” said Moores.

“We’ve got to get the balance right from the team and I’ve said before that you make no excuses at this level.

“With my selector’s hat on you have to go away when all the emotion has stopped and do it pretty clinically.

“I’ll talk to the other selectors and decide if what we have now is right or if we have to replace anyone.

“There are a lot of cricketers who are desperate to play for England and we have to always sit down, have proper meetings and always decide if we have the best side to play for England.

Peter Moores

Moores will consider the balance of the side

“Those discussions will have to be had when we get back and they are best done when you get home and when the dust has settled.”

England struggled to balance their side in the absence of key all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and poor fielding also hampered their bid for success in sub-continental discussions.

“It was a bad Test in the field and we dropped some catches,” said Moores. “I look at the whole ‘are we getting better or are we getting worse’, and I think we’re getting better but we have targeted fielding as an area we have to improve.

“There are some inconsistencies to it because some of the skill levels are not up to the required standard. There are things to be taken into account like the combination of Strauss and Flintoff at first and second slip which is no longer there.

“It’s something we have to get right as quickly as we possibly can.”

Wicket-keeper Matt Prior struggled in the rain-affected draw in Galle this past week as the tourists missed more than half a dozen chances.

Moores said: “Matt’s had a really tough Test as a keeper and I feel for him in that. There’s nothing worse than dropping catches.

“He takes something from the fact he was there at the end and helped us get a draw.

“The English keeper is always under pressure and has been for some considerable time.”

Mahela Jayawardene

Captain Mahela Jayawardene was a thorn in England's side

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene hopes his man-of-the-series displays are the start of something permanent.

He followed 195 in Colombo with an unbeaten 213 at Galle and said: “I want to be more consistent.

“That is something I have lacked in the past and if I can be more consistent with my performances I will be really happy.

“The whole team is trying to be more consistent. In this game you can improve all the time.

“You learn something every day, so hopefully I can be a much better player in the next few years.

“That’s my challenge and if you don’t have challenges you will never improve as a player, and there is no point playing international cricket.

“I have been in this kind of form in patches in my career - I have had really good times and bad times - so my goal is to try to be really consistent for a period of time.

“When you come to this age you tend to know how to handle things a bit better, so hopefully I can put it right for the future.”

Get our free apps

Apps Promo

Download the ECB Cricket app for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Nokia phones and get live scores, news, video and other services on the move