England win series but miss chance for big jump in ICC ODI Championship table
England’s 3-2 series win in Sri Lanka is certainly something for Paul Collingwood and his team-mates to celebrate. After all, it included the side’s first ODI win in the country for 25 years and is England’s first series win in a ODI rubber in the Asian sub-continent since 1987, when Mike Gatting’s team beat Pakistan 3-0 in the aftermath of the ICC Cricket World Cup. And as it follows a 4-3 series win over India in August and September, it can be viewed as further progress for a side that has often under-achieved in one-day cricket, said a media release of the ICC on Tuesday.
But after crashing to defeat by 107 runs in the final match in Colombo on Saturday evening, Collingwood could be forgiven for thinking what might have been, even as he held aloft the series trophy. Victory in that final match would have secured fourth spot in the ICC ODI Championship table and England’s highest placing since January 2005 ahead of a series in South Africa. Instead England remain in seventh position, the same spot they occupied at the start of the series.
It is a clear illustration of how tightly packed the teams are in the middle section of the ladder with just one rating point separating four teams, but there is a plus side for Collingwood and company. His line-up have still gained two rating points over the course of the series and are now just one point behind those three sides directly above them, Sri Lanka (fourth), Pakistan (fifth) and India (sixth). That trio is separated only when the ratings are calculated to three decimal places but there is plenty of scope for the situation to change over the coming days and weeks. That is because India are in the midst of a series against table-toppers Australia while Pakistan are about to go head-to-head with South Africa in a five-match series that starts on Thursday (tomorrow).
Sri Lanka have lost three rating points during their series against England but that win on Saturday night, with Dilhara Fernando capturing a career-best 6-27, has seen them stay put in fourth spot, although they are now six points behind New Zealand, in third position.
Saturday’s match was England’s last in this form of the game in 2007, a year in which they have had plenty of highs and lows. They shocked the cricket world by beating hosts Australia and New Zealand to lift a tri-series in January and February but could not replicate that form to make a significant impact at the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. A series loss against the West Indies at home followed, but since then those successes against India and Sri Lanka have given cause for optimism.