England coach Trevor Bayliss. @ AFP/Getty Images
England coach Trevor Bayliss. @ AFP/Getty Images

England were given a reality check in the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka, an inconsequential one, after the hosts romped to a 219-run win (DLS method) in Colombo on October 23.

The tourists were handed their heaviest defeat in ODI cricket with the title already pocked following three successive wins earlier (one match was washed out) in the five-match series.

England coach Trevor Bayliss was glad that his No. 1 ranked ODI team received an eye opener. “Winning the series is what we set out to do, so I’m very happy in being able to achieve that,” he told Cricbuzz on Thursday.

“But this was a bit of a reminder that you can’t take your foot off the gas and it’s not quite as easy as some guys think. If you are not 100 per cent on it, this game can bite you in the backside. The good thing is the way we adapted to different conditions. The conditions will be different in the World Cup but it’s a good sign going forward. We’ve shown we can play a little bit differently.”

England were poor in all poor departments against Sri Lanka in the final ODI. “Our performance in the field, our attitude in the field, was nowhere near up-to-scratch for a number one team. We’ve got some hard work to do going forward,” he said.

With only the away series against West Indies in February at the Caribbean left before England announce their World Cup squad, Bayliss said that players who do not capitalise on opportunities will be left out.

“It’s one thing giving guys an opportunity, but those guys have to take hold of that opportunity. Those opportunities could determine who makes a World Cup squad and who doesn’t. That’s the way it is. It’s a tough school, international cricket, he said.

“There are not too many more opportunities before the World Cup squad is picked, so some of the guys will have to turn it around pretty quick. We’re looking for some of those guys to take hold of that opportunity. If they do, they might find themselves in a World Cup squad. And if they don’t, well, they might miss out. There will be some disappointed guys in the changing room.

“Our batting and spin-bowling line-up is pretty well set ahead of the World Cup, so it comes down to pace bowling. The West Indies series could mean a lot in that respect.

England will play a one-off T20I against Sri Lanka on October 27 and then will be engaged in a three-match Test series beginning with the first Test on November 6.