LONDON - England are set to leave it as late as possible before deciding whether captain Alastair Cook is fit to face Sri Lanka in the third one-day international at Manchester's Old Trafford on Wednesday. The opening batsman's groin injury meant he missed England's humiliating 157-run defeat in the second ODI at Chester-le-Street on Sunday where the hosts were bowled out for a meagre 99 as Sri Lanka levelled the five-match series at 1-1.
That match saw Cook replaced by fellow left-hander Michael Carberry although England had called up Twenty20 specialist Alex Hales as cover for their skipper, with the team led by former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan. Cook appeared to take a full part in light training on Tuesday and then batted for an hour in the nets.
England seamer James Anderson, set to appear on his Lancashire home ground on Wednesday, was optimistic about Cook's prospects. "We'll see how he is in the morning," Anderson told an Old Trafford news conference on Tuesday. "He's practised today, so fingers crossed he will be okay." England won a rain-affected first ODI at The Oval in south London only to suffer a colossal collapse at the weekend.
"It was an extremely poor performance ... and what we've done today, and yesterday, is focus on how we're going to put it right on Wednesday," said Anderson.
"It was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong did. Certainly with the bat, we under-performed."