A victory will be everything today for Alastair Cook - who sees NatWest Series success as a signpost to greater achievements on the world stage for his developing England team.
Cook acknowledges the series decider against Sri Lanka at Old Trafford as a ‘cup final’ but also as an early acid test of England’s improvement.
After inheriting the captaincy from Andrew Strauss, Cook’s brief is to help oversee a continued upward curve in England’s 50-over graph.
A 3-2 verdict over the team who knocked Strauss’ England out of this year’s World Cup - with a 10-wicket quarter-final trouncing in Colombo - would be a handy start to Cook’s reign.
However, he said there is lots of room to become a better team: “There’s no reason we can’t improve how we bat. We are not satisfied with where we are now.
“If we want to really improve as a one-day side and compete in World Cups and big tournaments, everyone needs to raise their game.
“That’s what is required of everyone. “We as an England side need to win. If we don’t win, we look at areas where we want to improve and work at them.”
He added: “I think we’ve investigated where we want to improve, but at the end of the day you have to win.”
n More than 6,000 people were disappointed as heavy rain and a waterlogged ground prevented any play in Yorkshire’s North Group FL t20 match at Durham last night.