‘Fantastic’ Jordan gets Cook’s seal of approval

All-rounder scores quickfire 38 before taking three wickets as England beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs in first ODI.
Chris Jordan, right, took three wickets for just 25 runs after he and his teammates were asked to 'express themselves'. Matt Dunham / AP Photo
Chris Jordan, right, took three wickets for just 25 runs after he and his teammates were asked to 'express themselves'. Matt Dunham / AP Photo

LONDON // Alastair Cook, the England captain, was in optimistic mood after Chris Jordan’s “fantastic” all-round performance helped put his side 1-0 up in their five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Jordan was at the heart of England’s 81-run Duckworth/Lewis victory in Thursday’s rain-marred clash at The Oval, his former home ground.

Now with Sussex after being released by Surrey, the Barbados-born all-rounder – educated on a scholarship at London’s Dulwich College and England qualified through his grandmother – starred with both bat and ball in the day/night clash at his old home ground.

His unbeaten 38 not out off just 13 balls helped propel England to 247 for six in their 29 overs.

And the fast bowler then took three wickets for three runs at a key stage in the game to derail Sri Lanka’s pursuit of 226 in 32 overs after a second rain delay.

New England number three Gary Ballance weighed in with a valuable 64 and Ian Bell made a typically elegant 50 but Cook was in no doubt that Jordan, who finished with three from 25 in six overs, had turned the match the hosts’ way.

“It was a fantastic performance,” said Cook, who had little to celebrate during England’s 5-0 Ashes series thrashing in Australia.

“To come in and whack it like he did – he hit a really clean ball, against a very good death bowler (Lasith Malinga) – was a credit.

“That extra 30-odd we got in the last two overs gave us that momentum swing we really needed.

“Then he probably didn’t start off as well in the first two overs (with the ball).

“But when he came back, he flew in and he bowled quickly.

“Those wickets he got, it looked very uncomfortable batting.”

England have insisted they want players to “express themselves” under returning coach Peter Moores and Jordan’s man-of-the-match display on Thursday appeared to fit the bill.

“You want to see people enjoying themselves ... and I hope people can see that passion,” Cook added.

“I’ve always said there’s a lot of talent there, and the guys have been given an opportunity.

“It’s up to them to take it.

“They’ve been given first crack of the whip, and over the last couple of (ODI) games the youngsters have really stood up.”

That was certainly true of Ballance, 22, like Carberry born overseas, in his case in Zimbabwe, but educated in London (at the elite Harrow School) who was selected instead of Michael Carberry.

“Gary got the opportunity, and obviously took it very well,” said Cook. “He’s very composed and certainly knows his game. That’s what impresses me.

“We certainly haven’t seen the best of him either (yet). His record for Yorkshire is almost second to none.

“He averages well over 50 in both forms of the game, and not many people do that anywhere.

“He will find his feet more and more in international cricket. He’s certainly got the package to excel.”

Meanwhile Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews did not spare his teammates feelings after they were unable to follow-up Tuesday’s Twenty20 win over England at The Oval with another victory.

“Our bowling was a bit scrappy, and also we never really got going with our batting,” he said.

“All in all, I thought it was a really poor performance by the whole team,” the all-rounder added.

The series continues at north-east county Durham’s Riverside ground on Sunday.

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: May 23, 2014 04:00 AM

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