England were demolished by Sri Lanka in a must win game at the Cricket World Cup, with another loss leaving the defending champions in 9th place out of 10.
England batted first and were torn apart by Sri Lanka, reaching a measly total of 156 before Sri Lanka eased to victory after just 25 overs.
The 4th loss out of 5 leaves England all but mathematically out of the tournament, needing to win all their remaining games and other results go their way.
Captain Jos Buttler said that “there is no clear answer” when asked why England are playing so poorly.
So, after another shambolic performance, why are England playing so badly?
England made three changes from the humiliating defeat at the hands of South Africa.
Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes were recalled in favour of Harry Brook, Gus Atkinson, and the injured Reece Topley
The thinking behind these changes was to go back to a deep batting line-up; a feature of England being the most successful white ball team in the world since Eoin Morgan’s revolution of white ball cricket in 2015.
It meant England batted down to 9 but it didn’t stop a horrendous collapse after being 45 for 0 to 156 all out.
The issue with the long tail is there isn’t a need for players to stay in and score big. There is always someone else to do it, another batter to come in if you play a silly shot, of which there was plenty.
The constant chopping and changing of the side shows the lack of confidence, and that England do not know their best 11. There isn’t a formula, it is reactionary and the lack of practice playing the format is so obvious- England have lost their swagger.
England’s batting has been woeful this tournament.
As concerning as the lack of runs that have been scored is, the way the batsmen have got out has been even more so.
A nervy Joe Root went for a run that wasn’t there and was run out for 3. The uncharacteristic run out brought the first of many poor dismissals for England.
Shortly after, with England in desperate need of a partnership to steady the storm,. and with Jonny Bairstow looking in good touch, he attempted to smash across the line, spooning it to mid-on. This tame dismissal sums up England’s batting in this tournament so far, nervy, too soft and lacking the patience that can be required in ODI’s. It was the wrong ball to go after, and the wrong time to go after it.
Moeen Ali made it to 15 before he gave Kusal Perera catching practice at point, softly hitting it straight into his hands.
The most calamitous dismissal of them all was when Maheesh Theeshanka bowled a wide, only for keeper Kusal Mendis to throw the ball to the non-strikers end where an oblivious Adil Rashid had carelessly wandered out of his crease.
No More Miracles
England came into this game needing a miracle. Instead, they were humiliated.
Even Ben Stokes who has given England plenty of miracles before, couldn’t halt the inevitable with his gritty 43.
The work needs to happen at the bottom level. The 50 over domestic competition is not fit for purpose. The star players are taken away by the Hundred which happens at the same time.
Joe Root said, “whether it be internationally or domestically we need to play more 50 over cricket” and I agree. The first time the team that started this competition played together was in the first game. Joe Root himself hasn’t played any games of domestic 50 over cricket since the last world cup. In fact, only Gus Atkinson and Dawid Malan have played domestic 50 over cricket in the last year.
It is pivotal that the players who are going to represent England at World Cup’s have enough practice playing the format and, at the moment, it isn’t happening.
While this is a factor of England’s woeful World Cup, it isn’t an excuse. The players have not been good enough and something needs to be done.
Written by Daniel Allerton