NOT only does England’s victory yesterday maintain their interest in the tour, it shows they can stand up in the face of series-defining pressure. That is significant looking through the prism of the World Cup.
Defeat would have seen Sri Lanka secure an unassailable lead in the tour but England at least have a pulse after delivering the highest-ever run-chase in Pallekele, even if an overall series win still looks fanciful.
One swallow does not make a summer and England have still lost 14 of 23 completed one-day internationals in 2014 and remain on the cusp of a sixth defeat in seven series, but there are positives.
The breakthrough of James Taylor – many will think it should have happened long ago – is a major plus, as are the performances of Ravi Bopara, who has been England’s fall guy too often.
Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler can be destructive forces while the seam attack, in particular Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes, has shown a spark, though England still suffer from a lack of dynamic spin options.
England have ability but flaws also and still need to unlock greater flamboyance. It is a shame Alex Hales has not fired to potentially ask unanswerable questions of Alastair Cook, who is inevitably desperate for runs.