England skittled out for 99 in Sri Lanka ODI defeat: Inexcusable collapse confirms severity of rebuilding job

Sri Lanka 256-8 (50 overs) beat England 99 (26.1 overs) by 157 runs

chester-le-street

In England, in May, knowledge of the conditions is crucial. The ball jagging this way and that off sporting surfaces invariably ensnares unwary touring sides who have never seen the like.

How Sri Lanka must have groaned when the schedule for the one-day series was revealed. Their opponents, most of them with a lifetime of negotiating seam movement, were handed an obvious advantage. Bearing this in mind, it is slightly baffling, or some might presume inexcusable, that England contrived to be dismissed for 99, losing the second one-day international by 157 runs. They never recovered from a top order collapse in which they lost four wickets for 10 runs in 22 balls. It levels the series at 1-1. Neither match has been close.

Any criticism of England’s performance must be  tempered by praise for Sri Lanka’s bowling, which liked what it saw. England duly obliged by providing a hapless response which in many cases suggested that they had never before encountered lateral movement. Instead of playing forward too many of them were stuck in the crease, making them hostages to  fortune.

It was England’s lowest score at home since being dismissed for 86 by Australia 13 years ago and their largest one-day defeat at home batting second. In all, it was a dumb exhibition which confirmed that England have not yet recovered from the regular pummelings they received in the winter.

This really is a rebuilding job rather than a quick refurbishment.

Sri Lanka’s total of 256 for 8 after being put in seemed a serviceable total – the sort that would win some and lose some but not something on which a hammering could be predicated. It was constructed around patience and a refusal to be ruffled into doing  anything rash by accurate, experienced seam bowling, and it was aided by two dropped catches which could easily have reduced the total by 40 runs.

Sachithra Senanayake (centre) celebrates bowling Ravi Bopara Sachithra Senanayake (centre) celebrates bowling Ravi Bopara England started greedily as the tourists struggled to find the appropriate length. But when Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga settled it was all but done in a flash. Michael Carberry, restored to the team in place of the captain Alastair Cook, who withdrew because of what was described as “groin tightness”, pushed forward to a ball which went across him and left him.

If he was at least on the front foot it was not in assertive manner. There had been some musing about what England would do if Carberry, who has been voluble in expressing disappointment at his treatment in the past, made a substantial score. The conundrum may not arise again soon.

The next to depart and the most significant of all was Ian Bell. Looking as usual like a million dollars, his timing was imperious until he attempted a touch too casually to run a ball to third man which was too close to Kumar Sangakkara, who took a sharp catch diving to his right. Two Yorkshire players, who are hotly tipped to be in the middle order for the Test matches, were then accounted for in worrying fashion. Both Joe Root and Gary Ballance are notable batsmen off the back foot but they have a tendency to stick to the crease as if it were a comfort zone they dare not leave.

Root was planted when he was beaten by a ball from Malinga which curved past the outside of his bat. Had he been forward as he should have been he might have kept it out. If Ballance was not so extreme, he was back and across and caught plum in front of Kulasekara.

The rest was a procession to the off spin of Sachithra Senanayake whose action can delight no purist, to put it mildly, but whose variations, flicking the ball out of his fingers, are perplexing. He bowled Ravi Bopara and mystified three of the lower order.

Only a couple of late sixes by Eoin Morgan and an improbable reverse hit for four by Jimmy Anderson ensured that England avoided their lowest score. Anderson had bowled with admirable control at the start and the end of Sri Lanka’s innings.

He is made for England in the early summer, a master of all he surveys, and it is to be hoped he can retain this freshness and zest for the seven Test matches ahead. The tourists, however, were not to be easily dislodged.

After Lahiru Thirmanne pushed Anderson to second slip, the second wicket pair of Tillekeratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara played with due diligence. It was the 63rd time they had been second wicket partners in a one-day international and they were headed for their 13th hundred partnership when Sangakkara misjudged a leg side swipe against James Tredwell. Dilshan went for 88, which included one of his “dilscoops” and this pair set up the total.

If England assumed they had done well in restricting the score, it was as if Sri Lanka had deduced something around 250 was what was wanted. Everything they did was aimed at securing that. It was more than enough.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there