Moores relishes toughest test
England coach Peter Moores claims the one-day series in Sri Lanka is the “ultimate challenge” for his side - but insists they will return home better players.
Sri Lanka triumphed by 119 runs in the opening match of the five-match series, condemning England to an eighth successive defeat in this part of the world dating back to 1982.
Moores, who saw his side bowled out for 150 inside 35 overs in Dambulla, is under no illusions over the scale of their task over the next 10 days.
“This series for me is the ultimate challenge,” Moores told ECBtv ahead of the second match, which takes place in Dambulla on Thursday. “Most touring sides come here and struggle because of the conditions and the skill of the Sri Lankan players
“This is another chance for some fantastic learning - and we’ve got to really challenge ourselves to win the series.
“We’ve got to bounce back in the next game. We know we’re going to have to play very well and have some players learning very quickly.”
Moores takes heart from England’s performance towards the end of the summer, when they beat India 4-3 in a thrilling NatWest Series, and claims the squad is moving in the right direction despite Monday’s setback.
“We showed we could learn quickly against India, when we played some good cricket,” Moores added.
“It’s exciting. It’s quite a young team and an emerging team, and the work-rate of the players, certainly in the one-day area, which we have played more of in the last six to eight weeks, has been very very good.
“If we keep working at that rate we can only go one way, and that’s get better.”
The touring party has a distinctly youthful feel about it, and the likes of Phil Mustard, who made his England debut in Dambulla, and Graeme Swann - on his return to the side - will be keen to make the most of their chance.
Moores insists the more inexperienced members of the squad not only have the opportunity not only to cement a place in the side, but also make an indelible mark in the history of the game.
“We want an environment where people are very committed playing for England,” he said.
“We want them to see the big picture of what their responsibilities are - the fact that we’re here now representing our country, following a chain of people who have done it before - and some great names.
“It’s their chance now to do that with some integrity and some passion, so that people will enjoy watching them.
“And they can try and move it forward to become a successful team, and be remembered for individually for what they do, and also how they play together as a unit.”