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England vs Sri Lanka: Jon Lewis defends decision to rest experienced players after series defeat

England head coach Jon Lewis has defended the decision to rest some experienced players after his side's shock series defeat by Sri Lanka.

Before the series, it was confirmed Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Danni Wyatt would miss some or all white-ball matches.

England lost the T20 leg 2-1, the first time they have ever lost a series to Sri Lanka.

"It was 100% the right decision," Lewis said of the selection.

"We came into the series looking at it as a real opportunity to develop our young players and put them under pressure."

Seamer Mahika Gaur, 17, made her debut in the series, while Bess Heath and Lauren Filer were included in the squad but are yet to feature.

Promising all-rounder Freya Kemp made her return to the side after a stress fracture, Maia Bouchier replaced Dunkley at the top of the order, and Issy Wong featured in the second game having gone without a game during the summer's Ashes.

But none were able to really grab their chance, with Bouchier getting some starts without pressing on, Kemp struggled coming in at six having to rebuild after England had lost their top order, while Wong's issues with her run-up were evident in her one outing.

However, Lewis stood by the selection decisions as a chance to test some of his young talent.

"Taking out some of our senior players comes with an element of risk and when you put the players in those situations, you want to see how they respond," he told BBC Sport after the third T20 at Derby.

"We could have put our more experienced players or more of our experienced players in those situations, but then we won't learn about what's going on underneath our team."

England's batting was the biggest concern in the defeat, having been bowled out for 104 and 116 in the last two games, and struggling in particular against spin.

With England's next challenge coming away to India in December, and the next T20 World Cup taking place in Bangladesh in 2024, Lewis acknowledged that there is plenty of work to be done.

"It's something we are aware of," said Lewis. "We didn't play Ashleigh Gardner well during the Ashes either.

"In the build-up to the India series, we go to Oman and we will be recreating conditions that we might get.

"Before that, some of the girls go off to the Big Bash, and I think I will take five or six of them out to Mumbai to a specialist batting camp. We are going to get out there and work and try and get better."

Despite those big names missing, England's side still contained plenty of experience in captain Heather Knight, opener Wyatt, wicketkeeper Amy Jones and seamer Kate Cross.

Spinners Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn are also mainstays in England's white-ball sides despite their youth, so the result remains a big disappointment - their first series defeat by a team other than Australia since 2010.

"England will be disappointed. They have to be," said former England spinner Alex Hartley on BBC Two.

"They went into the series as heavy favourites.

"We all said it would take something very special for Sri Lanka to come here and win one game, so to come out and win a series is testament to how they have stayed positive after the first defeat and put England under so much pressure.

"Was there a bit of complacency from England? I'm not sure. They did rest their big guns, but they have got a lot of lessons to learn."

The white-ball series continues with three one-day internationals, starting in Durham on Saturday.