Sri Lanka in England, 2006 June 25, 2006

Fletcher urges England to score hundreds

Cricinfo staff

Innings of 30s and 40s are simply not going to win England one-day matches, aptly demonstrated by Sri Lanka's batsmen, three of whom have hit hundreds in each one-dayer this series © Getty Images
Following England's crushing eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, to hand the visitors an unassailable 3-0 lead, the England coach Duncan Fletcher has urged his squad to take greater individual responsibility if they are to avoid further defeat in the remaining two matches.

"Those players have done it before on a regular basis," Fletcher said. "They did it against Australia, the best side in the world, but it's up to the top four to go out there and get a hundred. "It's crucial to get that base and then you can expand from there and get decent totals to put them really under pressure and it's important and realise they go out there and put up their hand," he said.

"Sometimes they can rely on someone else to do the job, but each individual must go out there and put up their hand and we keep reminding them of that whether it's bowlers or batters - don't leave it for someone else to do, they've got to go and do the job."

Before the series got underway, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, identified the need for batsmen to score big hundreds, an aspect which England have failed to do. Sri Lanka, though, have heeded their captain's advice: aside from Jayawardene's magnificent 126 yesterday, both Upul Tharanga (120 at Lord's) and Sanath Jayasuriya (122 at The Oval) have contributed innings to set up Sri Lanka's total, or power them in the run-chase.

"Most of it is a mental thing," Fletcher said. "Three different Sri Lankan batsman have got hundreds and none of our batters have got a hundred. Getting to 30 is the same thing, it's a mental thing. If you get to 30, technically you can't be lacking something and mentally you have to get through the session and get those scores of 100.

"It's just a matter of an inexperienced side going out there and being put under pressure by some good batters, but it's crucial they handle that pressure well," he added.

The fourth ODI gets underway at Old Trafford on Wednesday.