Lotus365 Lotus365 News Recent Match Report – England vs Sri Lanka 25th Match 2023/24

Recent Match Report – England vs Sri Lanka 25th Match 2023/24

Recent Match Report – England vs Sri Lanka 25th Match 2023/24 post thumbnail image

Sri Lanka 160 for 2 (Nissanka 77*, Samarawickrama 65*) beat England 156 (Stokes 43, Kumara 3-35) by eight wickets

England’s World Cup defence is not dead yet. And more’s the pity, to judge by this latest hollow-eyed display from Jos Buttler’s ex-worldbeaters. The humiliations are coming so thick and fast that they are losing their shock factor but, suffice to say, this latest crushing loss – by eight wickets and in just 59 overs of the match’s 100 – was neither the largest nor the most shocking of an abject campaign.

It was, however, the one that confirmed beyond any lingering doubt that this team of genuine England greats no longer has any miracles left within its dressing-room. The match-up was nominally eighth versus ninth in the tournament standings, but by the time Pathum Nissanka had slammed Sri Lanka’s winning six over long-on with a massive 148 balls remaining, you were left to wonder whether this England team, in this miserable mood, could even have matched their conquerors’ achievement of making out of the qualifying tournament in July that did for the likes of West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

England’s realistic challenge in this match lasted no longer than the first six overs of each powerplay – at 44 for 0 after winning the toss, they momentarily threatened to turn on their power at long last, but then contrived to lose all ten of their wickets for 111 in 26 overs, with the pace of Lahiru Kumara ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/lahiru-kumara-784375) and the timeless guile of Angelo Mathews ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/angelo-mathews-49764) foremost among their persecutors.
And then, in reply, David Willey bagged two new-ball wickets to hint that, at 23 for 2, a low-scoring dogfight could be on the cards, only for Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/sadeera-samarawickrama-629076) to slam the door shut with a near-chanceless stand of 137 in 122 balls. And that, as they say, was a wrap. “We’ve been so far short of the standards that we set ourselves,” Buttler admitted after the match. “And for no apparent reason.”
England had had the best part of a week to regroup from their shambolic loss to South Africa ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2023-24-1367856/england-vs-south-africa-20th-match-1384411/full-scorecard), but before a ball had been bowled, the scars of that trouncing were plain to see. Not only did Buttler bat first after winning another toss – a direct response to that catastrophic toasting in the Mumbai heat ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/icc-cricket-world-cup-2023-england-s-mumbai-meltdown-shows-their-tactics-were-stuck-in-the-past-1404687) – he also presented a team-sheet that was a complete volte face from the Wankhede line-up, with the inclusion of three allrounders in Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, where none had featured a week earlier.

The theory was that a reversion to such depth would free England up to play their natural attacking game, and so it proved in a misleadingly energetic powerplay flurry. Dawid Malan lashed six fours in as many overs in another brief but imposing cameo – five of them launched in trademark fashion over the covers as Dilshan Madushanka offered too much width.

But the signs of England’s anxiety were never far from the surface. Had Sri Lanka trusted their instincts, Jonny Bairstow would have fallen lbw first-ball, after replays showed that his straight drive to a Madushanka yorker had first flicked his front pad. And when that first incision finally came, the rest of a devastatingly off-colour line-up followed all too obediently.

Sri Lanka’s catalyst was a familiar England foe. Mathews would not have been called into their squad but for a tournament-ending injury to Matheesha Pathirana, but at the age of 36, his first over in an ODI for three-and-a-half years dripped with nagging intent. His second delivery, to Malan, popped without pace off a perfect line and length to skim past the splice; his follow-up was rinse-and-repeat, and this time there was a thin scuff on ultra-edge as Sri Lanka instantly reviewed the on-field not-out verdict.

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