England v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, Group A, The Oval June 13, 2013

Lack of swing exposes England attack

With the white ball offering little conventional swing and, on this surface, little reverse swing either, England lacked the weapons to stem the tide of Sri Lankan runs
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Well, that makes things interesting. England's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka leaves Group A intriguingly poised: the final round of games has become a quarter-final in all but name.

But the forecast for Sunday is far from wonderful. England are scheduled to play New Zealand in Cardiff and, if it rains throughout, net run-rate will decide their fate. It will be of little consolation to England that this Champions Trophy is proving as entertaining as it is unpredictable.

There were two main reasons for England's downfall at The Oval. The first was some high-quality batting from Sri Lanka - and Kumar Sangakkara in particular - and the second was the England bowlers' inability to find enough lateral movement. With the white ball offering little conventional swing and, on this surface, little reverse swing either, England lacked the weapons to stem the tide of runs.

It left them, like a battery of Jade Dernbach's, over-reliant on slower balls and the short ball. And, on a slow surface against such good, calm batsmen, that was no answer. Whereas against Australia, England were able to bowl length and contain the batsmen through reverse swing, here their length deliveries were punished and the varieties lacked the subtlety or bite to worry the Sri Lankan batsmen.

It was a game that exposed England's limitations. They are a good side, certainly, but confronted by flair and experience on the truest of surfaces, they lack the ability to damage opposition. Kevin Pietersen or Steven Finn might have made a difference but the former is still unavailable due to injury and the latter was not selected after some patchy form. On the basis of this performance, Finn should probably have played ahead of Tim Bresnan, but hindsight makes such decisions facile.

Besides, it may well be inappropriate to criticise England too much for this defeat. While there were some areas in which they could have done better - there was a notable lack of yorkers and the total was not much above par - the truth is that England were, on the day, beaten by the better side. While the Sri Lankan fielding did not quite match England's, their bowlers delivered few bad balls and their batsmen demonstrated greater versatility and more scoring options.

"The difference was an outstanding hundred by an outstanding cricketer," Cook admitted afterwards. "Sometimes you come up short against a guy who plays as well as that and you don't feel quite so bad. That was a very fine hundred. He didn't give a chance, so we can't sit here and say we had our opportunities.

"I'm not too disappointed. Cleary we had an opportunity to get in the semi-finals and we didn't take it, but we have another one in the next game."

The circumstances exposed England's lack of a Plan B with the ball. Without the ability to get the ball to swing or reverse swing, the England bowlers were rendered impotent.

There was actually rather a lot to celebrate in England's batting. Jonathan Trott, with 76 from 87 balls, batted with a fluency that must have satisfied even his critics; Joe Root shrugged off the events of recent days to produce another nerveless performance with the bat and Ravi Bopara continued his impressive return to the team with a cameo that provided a reminder of the high-quality batsmen he might still become at this level.

It was not a perfect batting performance. England's acceleration was halted when they lost three wickets without scoring a run in the 46th and 47th overs but, bearing in mind how the high-risk approach the middle-order batsmen are obliged to take, such things will happen. Eoin Morgan could console himself with the thought that he was the victim of another poor umpiring decision by Billy Bowden, too. It is surely the case that the best umpires go home without the crowd noticing them; Bowden is not that sort.

"Our total was about par," Cook continued. "300 wins you a lot of games, but it was a fine hundred from Sangakkara. The one guy who struggled to time it was me. If we had put another 20 runs on the board, it might have been a different story. I think we were pretty satisfied, but it is amazing how those little two or three overs can change the game."

Perhaps more pertinently, the circumstances exposed England's lack of a Plan B with the ball. Without the ability to get the ball to swing or reverse swing, the England bowlers were rendered impotent. What little turn that Graeme Swann could find was slow and while James Anderson remained threatening, the rest of the bowlers had no answer to Sri Lanka's onslaught. As a result, they bowled too short, too often.

The decision to change one of the balls in mid-innings was intriguing. England were clearly unhappy that a ball that was just showing signs of reversing was replaced, with the umpires stating that it was "mis-shapen". It is rare, though not unique, for umpires to replace a ball without the wishes of the fielding side and will encourage those who want to believe that there is something untoward about England's method of gaining reverse swing. For all the talk, though, there is no evidence of anything untoward.

"The ball was changed because it was out of shape," Cook said. "The umpires make those decisions and you have to accept them. Sometimes you don't think they're the right decisions. The wicket got better and better as the lights came on to it. We knew that would happen with the amount of drizzle there had been in the last couple of games."

The one tactic England might have tried was to deliver more yorkers. Hawkeye shows England bowled only two or three yorkers in the entire Sri Lanka innings and none at all to Sangakkara. Sri Lanka, by contrast, bowled at least 10. Whether it is a tactical decision or England's bowlers lack the skill, which seems unlikely, it is an area in which they can surely improve. The game may have changed in some ways, but a well-directed yorker remains an essential part of the bowling package in all forms of cricket.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 13, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Well done George. A decent total bettered on the day by a better team - more specifically Sangakkara's great skill and Kalu's fantastic hitting. England set a par score, and Anderson and Swann aside - didn't have the bowlers to defend it. Agree totally that a seamer in Finn rather than another swing bowler in Bresnan might have fared better. In fact a second spinner instead of Bresnan (sorry Bres..) But that can take nothing away from a team who played better on the day. It's going to be a great weekend!

  • SpartaArmy on June 17, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    England need assistance from moisture, grass, pitch, to compete. If any of this three fail them, even BD captain will resign after winning a series against ENG with 4-1 margin.

  • ThatsJustCricket on June 14, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Well, Eng only looks good when the ball hoops around. On flat decks, they looks rubbish.

  • cric_J on June 14, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    I said before yesterday's match on the preview thread that England should go with Finn in place of Bres for the SL match. Although Bres has been England's best bowler after Jimmy for the last 4 matches (3 from the NZ series and the Aus match in CT), the usual bowling conditions at the Oval would have been more to Finny's liking than to Bres's.

    The Oval has ALWAYS been a good batting pitch and is not as swing friendly as other UK grounds like Trent Bridge or Lord's are. We saw in the Headingley test against NZ that even with the ball not doing much , Finn bowled superbly and was England's most effective seamer in the match. Also he was really good on the 2011 ODI tour to India , where we all know how much swing is on offer and was reasonable on the 2012 UAE ODI tour as well.

    What I mean is that in non swinging conditions , when Broad and Bres struggle to support Jimmy , Finny may well be the answer to England's woes with his pace and bounce and height.

  • on June 14, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    I think England should not be disheartened. Still their destiny is in their hands. SL faced similar circumstances in the last VB cup in australia when india chased down SL massive target crushingly. Still SL regrouped and won the next match to send india packing. I feel England will win the next match hopefully SL next match won't be a washout and SL would win, then England and SL can proceed to finals..

  • yorkshire-86 on June 14, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    The fact that our most dangerous batsmen didn't get to the middle until there were well under ten overs left shows everything up. We should have aimed for 300 runs minimum from the TOP ORDER BATSMEN, with any extra slogged by Buttler or Bopara as a bonus. We can't just expect opposition to play like us, pat back the first forty overs, keep wickets in hand, then hope the sloggers come off... Root needs to open, we need a new captain who knows where his middle stump is before wasting the teams valuable one and only review, and we have to pick a top three that can rotate the strike, pick up singles off defensive shots rather than patting them back to the bowler, and also be able to hit length balls for four. Too many dots cost us that game, we can't just blame the bowlers for failing to defend a mediocre score on a placid batting wicket.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 14, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Some people complain about swing as though it was at the very least chicanery. They probably also complain about pace and life in a wicket, spin and all else. And they have their way every time the dreadful Kookaburra ball is chosen as the weapon of play. The same people doubtless like tests to last 5 days and still produce draws and above all the corporate wicket. They also like the dosh to come in like crazy and above all prefer t20 to other forms. They are the moneymen. They actually loathe excitement and real cricket, and above all bowlers. I think particularly the Kookaburra swingless ball should be banned world wide, and above all in England. How the hell did it get into an English competition. I may conclude that ICC wanted to play the CT somewhere else,some limbo land without location just as they did not want to play WC2007 in West Indies. Otherwise they would have used the Duke Ball. If the ball is not swinging it is because the ICC are frightened of swing, and most things.

  • THEBOSS on June 14, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    If it rains on Sunday then its curtains for sure for England as SL will be pumped up after the win and definately they will win the game against AUS. NZ tops the group and SL takes 2nd position in Group A. So it will be a India vs SL semifinal, and no prizes for guessing who will be in the finals from that game..Good luck India in Finals....

  • SurlyCynic on June 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    Let's face it, England are dreadful. A Duke ball with a massive seam in overcast conditions sometimes disguises this fact.

  • dhanuhskaS on June 14, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Lack of reverse swing...? Don't you think it applies to the set of SL pace buddies too? Specially, Malinga & Kula can exploit the conditions to the max as they did recently proved in Australia. It would have been much more difficult for the English batters to go beyond 250.! So I don't think this is a valid excuse for the defeat.

  • on June 13, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Well done George. A decent total bettered on the day by a better team - more specifically Sangakkara's great skill and Kalu's fantastic hitting. England set a par score, and Anderson and Swann aside - didn't have the bowlers to defend it. Agree totally that a seamer in Finn rather than another swing bowler in Bresnan might have fared better. In fact a second spinner instead of Bresnan (sorry Bres..) But that can take nothing away from a team who played better on the day. It's going to be a great weekend!

  • SpartaArmy on June 17, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    England need assistance from moisture, grass, pitch, to compete. If any of this three fail them, even BD captain will resign after winning a series against ENG with 4-1 margin.

  • ThatsJustCricket on June 14, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Well, Eng only looks good when the ball hoops around. On flat decks, they looks rubbish.

  • cric_J on June 14, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    I said before yesterday's match on the preview thread that England should go with Finn in place of Bres for the SL match. Although Bres has been England's best bowler after Jimmy for the last 4 matches (3 from the NZ series and the Aus match in CT), the usual bowling conditions at the Oval would have been more to Finny's liking than to Bres's.

    The Oval has ALWAYS been a good batting pitch and is not as swing friendly as other UK grounds like Trent Bridge or Lord's are. We saw in the Headingley test against NZ that even with the ball not doing much , Finn bowled superbly and was England's most effective seamer in the match. Also he was really good on the 2011 ODI tour to India , where we all know how much swing is on offer and was reasonable on the 2012 UAE ODI tour as well.

    What I mean is that in non swinging conditions , when Broad and Bres struggle to support Jimmy , Finny may well be the answer to England's woes with his pace and bounce and height.

  • on June 14, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    I think England should not be disheartened. Still their destiny is in their hands. SL faced similar circumstances in the last VB cup in australia when india chased down SL massive target crushingly. Still SL regrouped and won the next match to send india packing. I feel England will win the next match hopefully SL next match won't be a washout and SL would win, then England and SL can proceed to finals..

  • yorkshire-86 on June 14, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    The fact that our most dangerous batsmen didn't get to the middle until there were well under ten overs left shows everything up. We should have aimed for 300 runs minimum from the TOP ORDER BATSMEN, with any extra slogged by Buttler or Bopara as a bonus. We can't just expect opposition to play like us, pat back the first forty overs, keep wickets in hand, then hope the sloggers come off... Root needs to open, we need a new captain who knows where his middle stump is before wasting the teams valuable one and only review, and we have to pick a top three that can rotate the strike, pick up singles off defensive shots rather than patting them back to the bowler, and also be able to hit length balls for four. Too many dots cost us that game, we can't just blame the bowlers for failing to defend a mediocre score on a placid batting wicket.

  • 2.14istherunrate on June 14, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Some people complain about swing as though it was at the very least chicanery. They probably also complain about pace and life in a wicket, spin and all else. And they have their way every time the dreadful Kookaburra ball is chosen as the weapon of play. The same people doubtless like tests to last 5 days and still produce draws and above all the corporate wicket. They also like the dosh to come in like crazy and above all prefer t20 to other forms. They are the moneymen. They actually loathe excitement and real cricket, and above all bowlers. I think particularly the Kookaburra swingless ball should be banned world wide, and above all in England. How the hell did it get into an English competition. I may conclude that ICC wanted to play the CT somewhere else,some limbo land without location just as they did not want to play WC2007 in West Indies. Otherwise they would have used the Duke Ball. If the ball is not swinging it is because the ICC are frightened of swing, and most things.

  • THEBOSS on June 14, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    If it rains on Sunday then its curtains for sure for England as SL will be pumped up after the win and definately they will win the game against AUS. NZ tops the group and SL takes 2nd position in Group A. So it will be a India vs SL semifinal, and no prizes for guessing who will be in the finals from that game..Good luck India in Finals....

  • SurlyCynic on June 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    Let's face it, England are dreadful. A Duke ball with a massive seam in overcast conditions sometimes disguises this fact.

  • dhanuhskaS on June 14, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Lack of reverse swing...? Don't you think it applies to the set of SL pace buddies too? Specially, Malinga & Kula can exploit the conditions to the max as they did recently proved in Australia. It would have been much more difficult for the English batters to go beyond 250.! So I don't think this is a valid excuse for the defeat.

  • SirViv1973 on June 14, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    @Venkastash018, The problem wasn't down to the 5th bowler! There are few teams here who have 5 genuine wicket taking bowlers. Between Root & Bopara they bowled 9 overs for 60 at an EC of 6.6 & there was only really 1 bad over (Root's 3rd) but combiined their effort was perfectly acceptable defending a score like 293. Also had we played the 5th bowler Bopara would not have played and we would have ended up with 20 or so runs less than what we managed to post. For me the problem was more about Bresnan & Broad not being able to back up Swan & Anderson by taking wickets or keeping things tight.

  • SirViv1973 on June 14, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    I think that this could prove to be a very damaging defeat for us. At the moment the forecast for Sun in Cardiff looks pretty horrendous and at this point in time it suggests that we are unlikley to get any play. If this is the case & the points are shared we will be waiting on the outcome of Mon game, where for now at least the forecast looks ok. We would need a narrow Aus victory to allow us to progress, a big win for Aus or any win at all for SRL would see us dumped out. With our weather being what it is I find it rather strange that there are no reserve days allocated. There is also the same situation today between SAF & WI, if the rain continues WI will be dumped out for1 defeat (to the best team in the competion I might add). The interesting thing is, is that if there were reserve days the forecast for tomorrow in South London is good & Cardiff looks very playable on Mon too.

  • on June 14, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    "There were two main reasons for England's downfall at The Oval. The first was some high-quality batting from Sri Lanka - and Kumar Sangakkara in particular - and the second was the England bowlers' inability to find enough lateral movement" did the SL team ahve a special ball that swung more? they bowled to the same conditions so it really is silly to say that was the reason they lost. if the ballw as swinging Malinga and Kula and eranga, all 3 who can swing the ball, would have been more dengerous as well.

  • Jayzuz on June 14, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Not much point comparing the bowling here vs the AUS game. The Edgbaston pitch is a nightmare to bat on second (difficult enough 1st innings, too) - like trying to hit a dough ball off quicksand. The Oval is a decent batting strip, not much in it for the bowlers, and the ball coming onto the bat at a decent pace. This is the kind of surface SLanka's fast scorers love - and tends to make Engalnd's bowlers look ordinary.

    Personally I'll be interested to see how SL go vs Australia in a week or so. Australia will have the advantage of knowing how many they have to win by if they are tied with NZ (If Eng beat NZ). If NZ win, all AUS has to do is beat SL and they are in the semis. Wouldn't that be an ego fall for the English press :-) Your worst nightmare is possible!

  • jmcilhinney on June 14, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    I don't know whether the England bowlers lack the skill to bowl yorkers but it seems to be something that they certainly don't practice specifically because the fact that they do rarely bowl has long been a source of criticism from myself and others. I'm sure that it's not easy but it seems to be so obvious that a yorker can be an effective weapon that I have to wonder whether David Saker has some specific reason for not wanting them bowled. England certainly have a habit of getting rattled and bowling too short when things aren't going their way and they won't progress beyond just a good side until they can learn to keep their cool and bowl good line and length even when getting hit. Some days the opposition is just too good and this may be one of those, but it certainly didn't seem that England maximised their potential. They're still in with a shot at this tournament but I don't think I'd be putting money on them at this point.

  • ramli on June 14, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Why was Treadwell dropped? Just because Swann is returning ... that too after a long layoff!! If not for the last-over heroics, this would have been a no-contest long before the match ended?? The defensive mindset of English batsmen is the reason for the defeat. They simply do not know when to accelerate and also how. Pity them.

  • venkatesh018 on June 14, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Harsh as it may sound, England's tactic of fielding only 4 Specialist bowlers was bound to hurt them, some time or the other in the batting-friendly pitches laid out for this tournament. Drop one of the top six and play 4 quicks along with Swann especially against the sub-continent teams.

  • on June 14, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    "Steve Finn... ...(was not selected after some) patchy form". This describes Stuart Broad succinctly, abowler whose form and impact on any game of cricket is completely and frustratingly unpredictable as it ranges from decisively unplayable to utterly and expensively innocuous. To make matters worse, you seemingly never can predict what his form might be, not based on the preceding few games, not on the likely combination of pitch and weather - or from innings to innings. With Bresnan too being innocuously expensive, England effectively had a two-, or if you're being generous, three-man attack and this is why England lost. But why the gamble? There definitely is a place for Broad in Test cricket, not so in one-day and that should have been known by now.

  • on June 14, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    I saw in each and every article on SL v Eng match said the "surprisingly the ball was changed without a request from balling side", but in accordance with current ODI rules there is no worth for players request /interest. The decisions are taken by umpires on their own judgment. Before the new rules come umpires asked the sanction form players for BAD LIGHT decisions. But now it is decide by the umpires. So the ball changing also should be the same.

    But new rules were brought allow two balls to be used in ODI because the white ball had problems which couldn't sustain for fifty over. Two balls rule was brought to overcome this problem. That means no ball changing is required. My argument is in accordance to the basics of law changing the ball while two balls are using is illegal.

  • Rexton87 on June 14, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    England did all they could including a challenging total of 293, Sri Lanka won it spectacularly, simple.

  • sweetspot on June 14, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Forget about lateral swing - anybody with experience can see it is just not there, quickly enough. Why were England bowlers supplying so much pace to batsmen who were relishing it? What was all that from Bresnan? Just bowling tight line and length and bowling to the field might have put pressure on SL, but you don't need to invite Sanga to this kind of party twice! SL would have done well to send in their regular batsmen so they can get some time in the middle I thought. With wickets in hand, anybody could have done the job, even though the Kula gamble came off.

  • Percy_Fender on June 14, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Congratulations to Sri Lanka for a handsome win over England. It must be said though that the bright sunshine did make things a bit easier for the. If England can only do well when the ball is swinging then they do not deserve to win even in England. When the others win it is often said that the conditions had suddenly turned sub-continent-like. That is the sad part. Other teams are coping up whatever the conditions. Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand but only just. They should never have. Now they have won and have kept themselves afloat.I am sure there is going to be even more in store in terms of surprises. This group will be a thriller I think. So let us wait and watch England play New Zealand. That will be a great match in Cardiff.

  • on June 14, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    There is slight evidence - The umpire warned England players not to throw the balls on the bounce to Buttler, which they were doing from the practice pitches so that the ball got scruffed up.

    But thats within the rules, so not really fussed. This 2 ball rule is stupid.

  • SeanB on June 14, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    Root was good, Trott was adequate. England have to learn to bat around Trott and Cook. Morgan and co have to do more than score 20 or 30 to convert 270 - 290 to 330+ scores. "the latter (Finn) was not selected after some patchy form" that selection was a joke. Clearly, Finn was being rested, for the Ashes. And, how is it that only English bowlers were able to swing the ball? SA or PAK have good seamers, but could not repeat what Jimmy A and others did.

  • Cpt.Meanster on June 14, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    England's bowlers have been clearly and cleanly exposed here. Without conditions conducive to swing, they are suspect and easy pickings for high quality batting line ups. This is an area of concern for them. Some people would sweep it under the rug by saying England simply don't care about ODI cricket. Well too bad, if you don't like playing ODI cricket then kindly pull out from an ICC event next time. The next world cup is in Australia and the conditions there won't favour swing bowling. If England really want to win anything in 50 overs cricket, they better start addressing this deep problem that continues to plague their bowling. This is why they struggle in the sub continent most of the time. None of their bowlers are good enough to content with slow, low, dry surfaces. Now, they are beginning to see such conditions at home as well which means they better be ready for anything.

  • on June 14, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    I don`t understand that why you don`t ever criticize the English batting cause 293 was just par on this flat wicket & ENG`s set method of keeping wkts in hand hardly works against good sides. Cook,Bell,Trott are not naturally aggressive players or they have that flair to be successful in ODI cricket, especially Trott & Bell. They keep scoring runs but ENG hardly wins, Trott has not even won the MOM award. Cook & Bell`s combined SR was 61 today. SL `s top3 combined SR-77 England `s top3 combined SR-70 India top3 SR in their game against SA which was played on flat wicket too- 92.7 This is why India are the best ODI team on these flat decks which we get in ICC tournaments SA `s Top3 SR in ICC CT-82 Avg. 53.5 NZL`s Top 3 SR in their series v ENG-88 Avg. 120 Now if these 3play 150 balls & play @ that SR then ENG get 105 in 25 overs & if they play little longer- lets say 30overs- then we have around 125 which is way short of where they should be. ENG needs aggression at the top- A.Hales

  • TECHSAMAN on June 14, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Finn is No 3 in the world. No England bowler today has ever been higher rated (=over 750)... England with Finn has got better and better & become a good ODI team. Broad needs to bat to be worth the risk that 8 out of 10 innings his bowling goes for plenty... Without Finn they leave the Champions Trophy - statistically true tho a pity. Why is it not obvious?

  • Divinetouch on June 14, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Probably, a Jadeja, Narine or Ajmal would have been the answer to England's problems.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 14, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    George Dobell wrote: "With the white ball offering little conventional swing and, on this surface, little reverse swing either"

    Umm, since when has reverse swing (or conventional swing for that matter) become surface reliant?

    Swing bowling of any kind depends on projectile and airflow dynamics which in turn are affected by factors such as weather, ball-shine and bowler skill.

  • Nampally on June 13, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    England's bowling limitations were severely exposed by the Sri Lankan win. I am an Indian fan but I felt that England needed a left arm spinner today to tie one end. England has too many seamers in Broad, Anderson, Bopara & Bresnan. While Bopara showed his hitting ability, Bresnan was poor in bowling. Swann & Anderson were the only 2 economical wkt. taking bowlers. Broad & Bresnan were erratic & uneconomical. Replacing Bresnan with Panesar will provide balance to the England bowling. With the current set of bowlers England bowling lacks penetration. Even Kulasekera made the England bowling look ordinary. Jayawardene was very uncomfortable initially but with a Six of Broad he got back into stride. Sanga played all seamers with ease. England fielding was excellent but the bowling was ordinary & batting was rather slow. Thanks to Bopara's late heroics that England reached a total close to 300. A balanced bowling attack & attacking batting is needed to make England a competitive side.

  • Happy_hamster on June 13, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    When the ball was changed you could see Chef was not impressed and the runs seemed to flow after that point, possibly coincidental. Hopefully the weather will not be the deciding factor that eliminates the hosts. I thought the England total would be enough but as it panned out probably 50 short! Probably winning the toss was influential but you win half of them on average and SL took full advantage, well done them.

  • KingOwl on June 13, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    So, Steven Finn, who was not selected due to 'patchy form' would have made the difference. Come now Mr. D. That does not make any sense!

  • Star_Striker on June 13, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    This is nothing new. It's been like this for years. Everyone knows once the ball isn't swinging England have nothing.

  • Atlantic252 on June 13, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Apart from James Anderson, and to a lesser degree Graeme Swann, England's attack is ordinary at best. On a good batting track they struggle. Anderson is carrying the team and must not be over used before the Ashes. Unless Broad, Finn and co improve, England may have a disappointing summer.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 13, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    No - a lack of imagination/bravery with team choices, and stubborn old-fashioned game tactics lost this one. Cook might not be disappointed, but fans are!

  • on June 13, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    Broad and Bresnan...two sides of a totally blunt knife.

  • on June 13, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    Broad and Bresnan...two sides of a totally blunt knife.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 13, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    No - a lack of imagination/bravery with team choices, and stubborn old-fashioned game tactics lost this one. Cook might not be disappointed, but fans are!

  • Atlantic252 on June 13, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Apart from James Anderson, and to a lesser degree Graeme Swann, England's attack is ordinary at best. On a good batting track they struggle. Anderson is carrying the team and must not be over used before the Ashes. Unless Broad, Finn and co improve, England may have a disappointing summer.

  • Star_Striker on June 13, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    This is nothing new. It's been like this for years. Everyone knows once the ball isn't swinging England have nothing.

  • KingOwl on June 13, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    So, Steven Finn, who was not selected due to 'patchy form' would have made the difference. Come now Mr. D. That does not make any sense!

  • Happy_hamster on June 13, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    When the ball was changed you could see Chef was not impressed and the runs seemed to flow after that point, possibly coincidental. Hopefully the weather will not be the deciding factor that eliminates the hosts. I thought the England total would be enough but as it panned out probably 50 short! Probably winning the toss was influential but you win half of them on average and SL took full advantage, well done them.

  • Nampally on June 13, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    England's bowling limitations were severely exposed by the Sri Lankan win. I am an Indian fan but I felt that England needed a left arm spinner today to tie one end. England has too many seamers in Broad, Anderson, Bopara & Bresnan. While Bopara showed his hitting ability, Bresnan was poor in bowling. Swann & Anderson were the only 2 economical wkt. taking bowlers. Broad & Bresnan were erratic & uneconomical. Replacing Bresnan with Panesar will provide balance to the England bowling. With the current set of bowlers England bowling lacks penetration. Even Kulasekera made the England bowling look ordinary. Jayawardene was very uncomfortable initially but with a Six of Broad he got back into stride. Sanga played all seamers with ease. England fielding was excellent but the bowling was ordinary & batting was rather slow. Thanks to Bopara's late heroics that England reached a total close to 300. A balanced bowling attack & attacking batting is needed to make England a competitive side.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 14, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    George Dobell wrote: "With the white ball offering little conventional swing and, on this surface, little reverse swing either"

    Umm, since when has reverse swing (or conventional swing for that matter) become surface reliant?

    Swing bowling of any kind depends on projectile and airflow dynamics which in turn are affected by factors such as weather, ball-shine and bowler skill.

  • Divinetouch on June 14, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Probably, a Jadeja, Narine or Ajmal would have been the answer to England's problems.

  • TECHSAMAN on June 14, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Finn is No 3 in the world. No England bowler today has ever been higher rated (=over 750)... England with Finn has got better and better & become a good ODI team. Broad needs to bat to be worth the risk that 8 out of 10 innings his bowling goes for plenty... Without Finn they leave the Champions Trophy - statistically true tho a pity. Why is it not obvious?