England continue to go to extremes, but captain Alastair Cook was hardly complaining after they bowled Sri Lanka out in Manchester for the second-lowest total ever made against them.
Only Canada have previously been bowled out for fewer by England in a one-day international than Sri Lanka’s 67 all out – coincidentally on this very same ground in the 1979 World Cup.
Cook’s return coincided with – inspired, perhaps – a dramatic improvement from a team hustled out themselves for only 99 by the tourists when the Sri Lankans levelled the Royal London series in Durham four days ago.
Here, with Cook fit again after a groin strain, Chris Jordan’s career-best 5-29 followed two wickets with the new ball for James Anderson as Sri Lanka – by the admission of their own captain Angelo Mathews – simply failed to cope in the cloudy conditions.
For Cook, the reversal of fortune in this 10-wicket victory and consequent 2-1 series lead was vindication of his and coach Peter Moores’s reaction to the adversity of Chester-le-Street.
“We did discuss it, of course, but it was a really strange game,” he said, of England’s 157-run defeat at the weekend.
“The way we performed at The Oval, to then perform like we did there was really strange.
“But the lads came out firing, desperate to prove a point today, and we did that.
“We didn’t quite get set straight away, (but) we held our nerve and kept building pressure, and then when we got the chance Jords really hit the mark.”
Jordan, described by bowling coach David Saker as an “ultimate prefessional” and “fantastic find”, wore a trademark broad smile as he reflected on his own performance – and England’s.
“After Durham, we had a really good chat as a team,” he said. “We were hurting – not just because we got beat but the manner in which we were beaten.
“Obviously for a team in transition, those days will happen. But we really wanted to put it right today, and we did so.”
His quick and accurate bowling was a big help.
“I try to leave as much as I can on the field, if not everything,” Jordan added. “I’ve always been quite an aggressive performer.”
Sri Lanka appeared to try to unsettle him in the north-east with some verbal interaction – but it had no effect.
“That kind of stuff doesn’t faze me,” the all-rounder said. “If anything, it gets me going a little bit more.
“When you cross that line you are playing international cricket, so you try to play as hard as possible. That’s what they did in bouncing back from their defeat at The Oval. We were able to counter that today, and I hope it can continue.”
Mathews was left to come to terms with events, just as England had to in Durham.
“We are in the same situation,” he said.
“It’s one of the worst games I’ve ever played, ever been a part of.
“Poor shot selection was the main reason we got so few runs. But it was never a 67 wicket - there were no demons on it.
“It swung a little bit in the first seven to 10 overs, but after that it wasn’t doing much.”
England have confirmed an unchanged 14-man squad for the final two ODIs, at Lord’s and Edgbaston.