sport

Pietersen: Players unsettled

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes there is an "underlying current of unhappiness" within the England team following their first ever Test series defeat to Sri Lanka on home soil.

England suffered an agonising 100-run defeat to Sri Lanka at Headingley on Tuesday to lose the two-Test Investec series after the tourists escaped with a draw in the opening match at Lord's.

This latest setback prompted Pietersen, whose central contract was terminated by the England and Wales Cricket Board after the Ashes whitewash in Australia last winter, to suggest in his Daily Telegraph column that all was not well within the England camp.

He wrote: "England were in winning positions in both matches but blew it, and I believe that is a symptom of the senior players being very unsettled. They are not turning up for the captain or coach.

"(Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson looked jaded at Headingley. Why? Why was Jimmy so emotional? We have lost a lot of matches in the past but he has never shown such emotion. He has been through tougher times and suffered lower moments but never been in tears before.

"It says to me there is an underlying current of unhappiness. The Australia tour was hard. We were beaten up due to a lot of reasons I cannot go into right now, and some of the senior players are still suffering, with the result that they are struggling to offer leadership in the dressing room."

Pietersen went on to praise the manner in which England's younger players have acquitted themselves in recent matches.

He added: "It was absolutely fantastic to see Gary Ballance, Sam Robson, Joe Root and Moeen Ali scoring hundreds.

"Add Ben Stokes and (Jos) Buttler to the mix and suddenly England will have a team mostly made up of young cricketers without any baggage, taking to Test cricket quickly and being successful."