Jonathan Agnew column

By Jonathan AgnewBBC cricket correspondent
Alastair Cook
Cook scored 298 runs to be named man of the series

England did well to win the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka, and with it the series, given the conditions at Old Trafford on Saturday.

They were the sort you would usually find on the subcontinent and at the start of the day it looked like the pitch would suit the tourists best.

One person who has answered his critics is the captain, Alastair Cook. Of all the players that the England management would have wanted to do well, he would have been top of their list.

He has had a fantastic series, and not just with the bat. He has shown a calm head in the field and I liked the way he felt confident, bold and flexible enough to take the batting powerplay early.

There were people who were worried he would try to alter his game too much to suit the one-day format and play himself out of form for the Test series against India, but that certainly has not been the case. He will go into that series in really good touch.

What we have learned is that Cook is capable of scoring runs when he has the responsibility of captaincy. That was the big question he had to answer, and he has done it.

As captains, Cook and Andrew Strauss are very similar. They are both quite quiet and they will see this period of split leadership through without any problems. They get on well and have a lot of respect for each other.

There will be no confusion for the players about who is in charge when Strauss returns for the India series.

The big loser at the moment is Stuart Broad because, had he been bowling well, Jade Dernbach would have been the one to make way when England wanted to play a second spinner.

Broad has not bowled well, has again lost his temper with an umpire and will now be worried about his place in the Test side. Tim Bresnan is looking increasingly likely to be part of a four-man bowling attack for the first Test against India.

The England management like Bresnan because he's a robust character who can bat, bowl and field.

I'm sure Broad will be picked in the 12-man squad for the Lord's Test but I would say it is unlikely he will make it onto the park.

The other worry for England is the form of Kevin Pietersen. He looked good a couple of times but, at the moment, he simply can not get going in one-day cricket.

He lost his place last summer and there's no reason why that might not happen again. He hasn't imposed himself in the 50-over format for two years and there are other players who deserve a chance.

Leicestershire's James Taylor is an obvious candidate to come in - people are starting to talk about him in really serious terms now. Durham's Ben Stokes is another option if he's fit. He could bowl a couple of overs because England are still short of another option.

There's a whole Test series against India to come and Pietersen could go well in that, but his form in one-day internationals is certainly a concern.

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