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May 26, 2014
Joe Root has admitted that England's 157-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the second ODI was "embarrassing" and said improved performances are required to keep the paying public interested. There were empty seats on display for Sunday's game at Chester-le-Street, as England were bowled out for 99, while tickets remain on sale for the three remaining matches in the series.
England's performance, following on from an encouraging victory in the opening match at The Oval, reawakened unease after a winter in which losing became an impossible habit to shake. Root, who made 0 as part of an abject batting display, said England would pick through the debris before Wednesday's game at Old Trafford to ensure that another debacle does not ensue.
"We're all very disappointed with the way we played," he said. "We don't want fans turning up for games and seeing a performance like that. It's quite embarrassing.
"I think we'll have a discussion when we get to Manchester and review the game properly. Sometimes you get emotional on the day of the game it's better to leave it a few days and then discuss it as a side. I think that's what we'll do. We have got to make sure we're very honest with ourselves and don't let a performance like that happen again."
Eoin Morgan, England's stand-in captain, described the defeat - England's fifth-heaviest in terms of runs - as one of the worst he had been involved with. The limited-overs series against Sri Lanka began with talk of repaying the fans after a trying winter and Root emphasised that playing well was the best way to pack out grounds.
"It's always better when you get a full crowd," Root said. "But the one way to get people to come and watch you is to win games of cricket and we have to make sure we can do that consistently, earn the right for people to want to come and watch us. We don't want to play like yesterday, where people come to watch and feel let down, we want to make sure that everyone who comes is impressed by what they see and want to come again."
England hope to have Alastair Cook fit to resume the captaincy in Manchester after a groin strain and it is certain he will demand an improved effort with the bat. Root described the display as "not good enough" but echoed Morgan's view that such a heavy beating would in some ways be easier to leave behind and pointed to the first ODI as a recent performance that England could draw confidence from.
"In the first game we played some exceptionally good cricket and yesterday we didn't," he said. "If we're being brutally honest it just wasn't a good enough performance from the whole team, especially the batters. You get yourself into a position where you're 30 for four chasing 250 you're always going to be struggling. As a batting unit we've got to hold our hands up and say it's not good enough.
"There isn't one that slaps you in the face. I think there are little things from a personal point of view that we can work on in practice and try and iron out. But we can't really worry about it too much, we played some really good cricket at The Oval, which was not even a week ago now. We've got to try and take as much of the good stuff from there and learn from the mistakes made in Durham and make sure we come out on Wednesday with a really good performance.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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