Sri Lanka v England: Jonathan Agnew column

By Jonathan AgnewBBC cricket correspondent in Colombo
Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook
Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook

England proved they have learnt some lessons by winning the second Test against Sri Lanka, meaning they end a difficult winter on a high.

Alastair Cook was particularly impressive in the run chase. He was determined to prove a point after the collapse in Abu Dhabi by showing there is another, more positive side to his game.

Along with Kevin Pietersen, he showed England have moved on from previous defeats and there is something to work with before next winter's tour to India.

The frustration all winter has not been about a lack of ability, it is the way the batsman have applied themselves.

Just like the fantastic bowling attack has done again and again, they needed to show focus, hard work and discipline to get the job done.

They finally proved they can do that - which is not rocket science because there are some good players in the team.

It was interesting to hear Andy Flower suggest England need to find an all-rounder in time for the tour to India.

I presume he wants a spin bowling all-rounder, and I think Samit Patel has done well in Sri Lanka.

He has got the summer now to go away and work on his bowling to make himself that all-rounder.

Another option might be leg-spinner Adil Rashid, if he impresses this season for Yorkshire.

Although people have suggested England were wrong not to pick Monty Panesar in the second Test, Graeme Swann took 10 wickets in the match and he seems to prefer being the sole frontline spinner.

England have had their successes in recent years by playing three seamers and a spin bowler, so it makes sense to follow that model and take some back-up overs from somebody like Patel.

It's just a shame that the Indian Premier League schedule means this Test series will not have the third match it deserves, a potentially gripping decider in somewhere like Kandy.

Listen to analysis of the day's play on the TMS podcast.

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