England keen to avoid rainy days

Ian Bell has already acknowledged the handicap of being unable to get more than one rain-affected victory out of two warm-up matches before the first one-day international at the Premadasa Stadium.

The second tour fixture was a washout at the P Sara Oval, meaning Bell is one of just four England batsmen to have had a competitive innings before the seven-match series begins on Wednesday.

England were under no illusions from the outset, though, that bad weather would be an occupational hazard at this time of year here.

"It's not ideal, is it?" said Bell.

"But I suppose, on this tour, we're going to get interrupted by rain all the way through."

One of the other principal question marks over England's progress to next year's World Cup is whether Bell and his fellow batsmen can score at the right tempo to be successful at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Moeen Ali's approach, albeit against an unheralded Sri Lanka A bowler three days ago, was a revelation as Alastair Cook's new opening partner hit the first six legitimate balls he faced for four.

Batting coach Mark Ramprakash identified that "fearless" mentality as the template for England's winter, and beyond.

But Bell points out firepower at the top of the order is already established.

"Stats-wise, I get told in the first 10 we're the same as anyone else in the world," he said.

"So I don't necessarily agree we don't go hard at the top.

"But the importance of partnerships is huge in any one-day cricket. So that we're building and can then 'explode' at the end.

"We'll have to be adaptable (to conditions) but want to play a positive, aggressive brand of cricket as well."

As for Moeen, Bell is wary of any sudden assumption that instant momentum is down to him.

"We can't put a lot pressure on Mo to do that all the time.

"He had a great start, but if they bowl well he's got to adapt his game to that as well."

Moeen and Cook put on 94 in only 13 overs at the SSC, where Bell and Joe Root then made 16 and 15 not out respectively before bad light intervened and gave England the win using the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Asked if he feels in form after his brief innings, Bell said: "It's difficult to say... but it's good as a group we've been able to focus just on one-day skills here.

"It's great to have that opportunity, rather than have it tagged on the end of a Test tour."

  Ian Bell is still intent on self-improvement
Ian Bell is still intent on self-improvement