World Twenty20: Ominous for England but Eoin Morgan holds key

 

Kandy

On balance the omens are poor for England tonight. The last time they played Sri Lanka in a do-or-die match in a major limited-overs tournament it ended in abject defeat by 10 wickets and the resignation of their captain.

Whatever happens in their final Super Eight match of the World Twenty20 tonight, which is effectively a quarter-final, Stuart Broad's position is safe. Andrew Strauss merely decided it was time to go. But unless lessons from various quarters have been digested the rest of the outcome will be similar. First there is that quarter-final in the 2011 World Cup, when Sri Lanka prevailed by 10 wickets with both their opening batsman scoring centuries and England looked not only tired but out of their class.

And then there are matches earlier in this tournament, particularly when England performed so lamentably against the spin of India. It can be supposed that Sri Lanka will mount a similar attack of the slow men tonight.

England must address that little difficulty (which some might say would banish at least 50 years of history) while also rectifying the poor construction of their innings so far. The victory by six wickets against New Zealand on Saturday with seven balls left has clearly bucked them up.

Eoin Morgan, the team's most important batsman, agreed that spin and the approach to it could be the decisive factors. Play it well and England will have a sniff against a host team which is beginning to look the most assured here. "It is going to be crucial," said Morgan. "You play in a different way than you normally would do. To have guys who have had success here is crucial."

What has played with England's mind more than anything else as this competition has progressed in the last fortnight is the fact that the tactic that made them champions two years ago has not been effective this time.

In 2010 they came out blazing from the start and were rewarded. But this is different. They had a new opening partnership last time who knew no fear and Craig Kieswetter, the survivor so far from it, has struggled to adjust his game to different pitches. He may pay the price for this as Jonny Bairstow practised with the wicket-keeping gloves for 20 minutes at England's training session yesterday.

If Kieswetter is dropped Michael Lumb, who played in the 2010 but had seemed surplus to requirements now, would seem the likely replacement. The lack at Kevin Pietersen at No 3 despite, Luke Wright's manful successes, has been a clear short coming. Pietersen is one of the best Twenty20 players in the world, opponents know it and respond accordingly.

The inability against spin has been matched by a failure to deduce how the first six overs, which constitute the powerplay, should be played.

Morgan, who shows signs of coming into his most impressive limited-overs form, said: "When we've won games in the past and played well we've played really positive cricket and got along with things very well. Over here it's difficult.

"You have to get yourself in and maybe catch up with things from three overs to six. It's a bit of a conundrum but it's different from what we're used to. We haven't come to terms with it so far but we're working on it and trying to find a difference between firing and having a good solid start."

They had better find it tonight or the defence of their title will be over.

PALLEKELE DETAILS

England (probable): MJ Lumb, AD Hales, LJ Wright, EJG Morgan, JM Bairstow (wkt), JC Buttler, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad (capt) GP Swann, DR Briggs, ST Finn,

Sri Lanka (probable): M Jayawardene (capt), T Dilshan, K Sangakkara (wkt), A Mathews, J Mendis, L Thirimanne, T Perera, N Kulasekera, L Malinga, R Herath, A Mendis

Weather: Chance of very light rain early on, 31 degrees with 21 per cent cloud cover. 15mph wind and 48 per cent humidity.

TV Times: Sky Sports 1 HD, 14.30-18.30, highlights at 01.00 Wednesday morning.

Odds: Sri Lanka 4/6, England 6/5

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
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

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world