Twenty20 England v Sri Lanka: A new era, but some of the old problems still persist

While England's run chase may have lacked momentum at points, it was their loose bowling at the end that cost them this game

the kia oval

Unless you have been living under a rock, or perhaps so far 'outside cricket' that you haven't heard the repetitive churning of the ECB PR machine, this is a 'new era' for English cricket.

After the hibernis horriblis that England endured, dramatic changes and earnest promises were made as they tried to rebuild the sandcastle that had been stomped on by Australia and then kicked in their faces by the Netherlands.

While the new regime was given something of a soft launch in the ODI with Scotland earlier this month, tonight's T20 clash with reigning world champions Sri Lanka was much more like its grand unveiling.

Some have labelled The Oval soulless following its semi-recent redevelopment, but on evenings like this, it is anything but.

If Lord's is the traditional home of English cricket, then The Oval could reasonably lay claim to being the home of modern English cricket, as an enthusiastic near-sell out crowd would no doubt testify.

It is perhaps then a little disappointing that England's new era did not get off to the flying start that Peter Moores and Co. must have been hoping for.

There were undoubtedly bright points, Harry Gurney, was particularly impressive on his T20 international debut, picking up two wickets and denied a third by the simplest of drops from Michael Carberry.

 

Gurney is the first Harry to play for England since 1934 but given how well he bowled at the end of the innings, he also felt almost like England's first half-decent death bowler in as long.

However many of England's changes were not so successful. Perhaps the most inexplicable was the axing of Michael Lumb at the top of the order, breaking up an established opening pairing with Alex Hales that has yielded on average over 40 runs an innings at a run rate of nine an over.

Lumb's replacement Carberry is of course a fine T20 player, but you have to question the logic of changing the one consistent part of the side - an argument not helped by Carberry's costly blunder in the field and all too brief stint at the crease.

Another puzzling selection was that of Ian Bell, playing his first T20 game of any variety for 1222 days, and slotted in at number three. Moeen Ali, left out of England's upcoming ODI squads to allow him to play more red ball cricket, must have been particularly confused to be brought down to London just to sit watching on from the sidelines.

Again it was not a decision that paid off as Bell played a predictably rusty knock to leave England's run chase stuttering.

For all that this has been branded a new age, there were of course many similarities with the old one.

Hales picked up where he left off against Sri Lanka in the World T20, his innings of 66 from 41 balls at times threatening to lead England to victory again, but a Lasith Malinga slower ball destroyed any chance of history repeating itself as it clattered into his stumps.

Sadly however this much-hyped bright new dawn for English cricket still appeared to share some of the problems of its predecessor.

England's star limited overs batsmen, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and in particularly Ravi Bopara all feel like they are batting too low in the order, their influence on the game reduced with every ball they miss out on facing.

Then there is the perennial problem with England's T20 cricket - their bowling at the death.

After their horror show in Bangladesh, Dernbach and Bresnan were out, but Gurney aside, their replacements faired little better as Sri Lanka plundered 61 runs from the final five overs.

While England's run chase may have lacked momentum at points, it was their loose bowling at the end that cost them this game.

Overall though it was not all doom and gloom, Sri Lanka won the recent World T20 for good reason, and for large parts of this game England matched them. The new era might not be quite here yet, but it at least felt a little nearer.

News
news
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...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
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
Life and Style
fashion
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'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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