LONDON - England's one-day cricket captain Eoin Morgan hopes the feel-good factor generated by his side's limited-overs series win against New Zealand will carry on into next month's Ashes series.
A miserable first-round exit at this year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which included an eight-wicket thrashing by eventual finalists New Zealand, and a subsequent 1-1 Test series draw away to the West Indies, left many England supporters fearful of the fate that might befall their side against Australia.
But there were encouraging signs during the recent 1-1 Test series draw with New Zealand, while the bold manner in which England played during Saturday's three-wicket triumph for a 3-2 series win reinvigorated players and fans alike.
"There is a great feel-good factor going around cricket at the moment and it started with the Test series against New Zealand, which was very competitive," said Morgan, after clinching success in Durham.
"Let's hope going into the Ashes we can maintain that support throughout the summer and it makes a contribution to the result," added the former Ireland batsman, who is not currently involved in England's Test set-up.
Also on the outside looking in, for the time being at least, ahead of the first Ashes Test against Australia in Cardiff, is Riverside match winner Jonny Bairstow.
The Yorkshireman was only called into England's one-day squad on Friday, after fellow wicket-keeper Jos Buttler suffered a hand injury during fielding practice which cast a cloud over his Ashes prospects.
Bairstow marked his unexpected return with an unbeaten 83 in a three-wicket win under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
"Credit to England for holding their nerve today when the series was on the line," said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum on Saturday.
The series saw England and New Zealand become the first teams to break the 3,000-run aggregate mark in a five-match ODI campaign.