Eoin Morgan seeks series win as nation licks its wounds

England's increasingly proficient one-day side might well offer a beacon of hope for those looking for a distraction this week. England cricket fans knew the meaning of omnishambles long before it was added to the dictionary and might regard it as something of a perversity that, after the country's footballers were put on ice by the smallest nation at Euro 2016 and as politicians continue exploring the realms beyond satire, it is their sport that provides a fleeting opportunity for optimism.

It is not so long ago that England's ODI players were sent packing from a major tournament to the accompaniment of boos and hisses, of course. Eoin Morgan is periodically asked to reflect on how far England have come since the 2015 World Cup and his responses to how the culture of the limited-overs teams has been changed, and where they can continue to improve, are typically well-rehearsed and emotion-free. Is it a stretch to suggest his cool captaincy and emphasis on collective enjoyment feels ever-so-slightly Icelandic?

Morgan is no football fan, however, and England are one of the most well-resourced teams in cricket, so it is hard to make theirs an underdog story - no matter how mangy their one-day performances have been over the last couple of decades. England's captain, who perhaps took slightly more of an interest during Ireland's Euro 2016 defeat on Sunday, did concede that "emotions are probably running high with everybody around the country at the moment" but stopped short of endorsing the appointment of an Australian as Roy Hodgson's successor.

Coincidentally, Hodgson watched England's cricketers train the last time they prepared for a match at The Oval (one they lost by an innings to Australia) but he has now joined Peter Moores and Stuart Lancaster in the most recent ranks of English coaching disaster. Morgan was more interested in Eddie Jones' success in turning around the rugby team - "it's been phenomenal to watch a whitewash against Australia on home soil" - but eventually talk turned to his ongoing project alongside Trevor Bayliss in improving England's ODI stocks.

A tie at Trent Bridge, where Liam Plunkett's last-ball six salvaged a game that appeared lost, was followed by more consummate displays in both disciplines at Edgbaston and another solid bowling performance, before the rain arrived to wipe out any chance of a result at Bristol. That means England still need to win one of the final two matches to secure the series - and they may come up against the weather again at The Oval, with a poor forecast for the afternoon.

"It's very important we work hard, they are a strong side, we don't take them for granted," Morgan said. "The series still stands at 1-0, given we've played some really good cricket and not been able to capitalise because of the weather. Tomorrow again it is going to be tough to get it to that point but it's important to emphasise the hard work that needs to be put in."

As England have broken records with regularity over the last 12 months, it has been the batsmen that have taken the plaudits - most recently with Alex Hales and Jason Roy knocking off the highest successful chase for a team winning by ten wickets.

However, the bowling has stood out so far in this series, with Sri Lanka limited to totals of 286 for 9, 254 for 7 and 248 for 9. England have got by on five specialist bowlers in each match, with Joe Root contributing three overs of back-up spin, and while Morgan said he would prefer to have more options - such as when Ben Stokes has been fit to play as an allrounder in the top six - results had been encouraging.

"At the moment it has worked, ideally we would have more but our strength has been our batting and to stick with that sends quite a lot of confidence through the changing room," Morgan said of the team's balance.

"It throws it over to the bowlers, more responsibility on them and they have done pretty well with it. Sometimes if you go in with six out-and-out bowlers it can be off the pace a little bit, when you pack your team with batters and if they play poorly you wonder if they rely too much on other people. It's a balance you just have to stay with what you feel is right for the team."

England have become more accustomed to viewing the limited-overs formats as a squad game and Morgan said there were still plenty of options to consider ahead of next year's Champions Trophy. Steven Finn has yet to play a game in the series - in part thanks to Liam Plunkett's strong form - and Stuart Broad's name continues to linger at edge of selectoral discussions.

Meanwhile, a combination of poor batting, good batting (from Hales and Roy) and poor weather, means that Morgan, Root and Jonny Bairstow have had little opportunity for time in the middle. For that reason, as well as the desire to avoid going to Cardiff still only 1-0 up, England will hope the rain stays away over south London on Wednesday. As Hodgson, who led his team through a perfect qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, would attest, you can never be too well prepared for the challenges ahead.

"There is a lot of talk going into tournaments about knowing your best 11 but its more than that. A guy goes down in the first game, must-win, it's more than having 11 - it's how big your squad is. When you turn to guys at certain stages of a tournament you have got to be able to trust them, it's not just your best team, but best squad."