Sri Lanka v England, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele

Who's captain?

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from Sri Lanka against England as the World Twenty20 holders go out of the tournament

David Hopps in Pallekele

October 1, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan run between the wickets, Sri Lanka v England, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele, October 1, 2012
Mahela Jaywardene top-scored with 42 but it wasn't a captain's innings © AFP
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Captain of the day

Mahela Jayawardene conceded the captaincy to his team-mate and long-time buddy, Kumar Sangakkara, to general confusion. The assumption was that Jayawardene had captained Sri Lanka when they were penalised for a slow over rate and nobody wanted to risk the chance that he might err again and be suspended as a result. It was some captaincy by Sangakkara - he seemed to have Jayawardene on an invisible string as Jaywardene looked to be making all the decisions himself. Some regarded it more seriously as contrary to the Spirit of Cricket.

Comeback of the day

England's dropping of Craig Kieswetter, with Jonny Bairstow assuming keeping duties, was no surprise from the moment that Bairstow did some intensive glovework, for the first time on tour, on the practice day before the game. That it was Ravi Bopara, and not Michael Lumb, who replaced Kieswetter, though, was more surprising, as he had become the forgotten man of the England squad.

Retort of the day

Concerns have been expressed about the effectiveness of Sri Lanka's middle order once the Big Three have departed. Angelo Mathews and Jeevan Mendis answered that with a vigorous partnership of 52 from 31 balls after Graeme Swann had accounted for Mahela Jaywardene and Kumar Sangakkara in successive balls.

Over of the day

There is only one contender: Lasith Malinga's second over, the third of the innings, which left England in disarray. Luke Wright, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales all departed and, for all England's hopes that they could set up a platform for Eoin Morgan, he came in at 18 for 3. As for Malinga, he finished with 5 for 31.

Consolation of the day

Samit Patel has been burning for a batting opportunity throughout the tournament. He found himself coming in at No.4 - a promotion influenced by the desire to set things up for Morgan - and took full advantage, playing the Sri Lankan spinners with consummate ease, something that was beyond the rest of England's top order. He made 67 from before he became Malinga's fifth victim. For a team that loves to 'take the positives' this was at least something, especially with a tour of India to come.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Neutral_Guy on (October 2, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

First thing: Penalties against a captain or the side on slow over rates in tense world cup matches like these is the biggest joke ever! Secondly, I see no bad intention on keeping a key-player safe from getting banned for the semi finals. When it comes to our team, we will think the same in a must-win world cup semi final.. ...and @krshankar, Sangakkara was also given caught behind, which we very well know that he will be in the pavilion faster than the umpire's finger if he edged it.. Yes, the DRS should be in effect pretty soon..

Posted by iknowsports on (October 2, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

u guys r da most spirited team in da T20 wc!!!u surly can win and also that was a gd way 2 answer those questoins about da middle order,Mathews!

Posted by stormy16 on (October 2, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

Eng made too many changes and Bopara - I thought they forgot about him after the summer. Also Keiswetter was a better bet as he has played all tour and to suddenly to change that in the last and most important game was a huge gamble. Yes the Sanga captaincy was shrewd/not on depending on which side of the fence you sit on but the point is the ICC need a better plan.

Posted by abherath on (October 2, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

A lot of people have commented about the spirit of the game. In the first place, it is not in the spirit of the game to suspend a captain for a game, for failing to bowl overs within the stipulated time.

Posted by Vishnu Kumar Reddy on (October 2, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

without KP England is always half a side. Bairstow replacing KP in England's line up .. big LOL... Look at the strike rate and average of Bairstow.

If ECB need some good cricket from England team then they should pick KP.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

I agree with the spirit or lack there of comment. What the Sri Lankan team did is just not cricket. I could have accepted the decision some degree if Kumar was indeed the on field captain, but it was clearly apparent to anyone watching that he was just a figurehead. Sure one can find a loophole to any rule but one can never find a loophole to the spirit of the game. Now having said that, Sri Lanka was clearly the dominant team and the final score was a poor indicator of the true disparity between the two teams. England also somehow managed to weaken an already ordinary team by making some bonehead selection decisions. Bairstow was clearly way in over his head in all aspects of the game, yet they dump a superior albeit out of form keiswetter behind the stumps. They then replace him with even more out of form Bopara. OK whatever. The right two teams have gone forward, despite even this authors confident prediction that England was on an easy road to the semi-finals.

Posted by krshankar on (October 2, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

DRS should be mandatory in 20 20 cricket too. Hales was given LBW wrongly by the umpire. That changed the result of the match.

Posted by Meety on (October 2, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

IMO - it shouldn't matter who is captain on the day. If Sri Lanka were to have been slow again last night, MJ should be the one suspended, as he was named captain of the squad & is obviously the real captain. A bit of shenanigans from SL, hopefully not a genuine loop hole!

Posted by   on (October 2, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

Spirit of the game is a misnomer in the context of modernT20 cricket where what matters is to stay in contention using your bag of tricks.

Posted by Shehan_S on (October 2, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

Sri Lankans made sure they bowled in the allocated time limit. That is the idea of the rule and they achieved it. It would have been wrong if Sri Lanka didn't put an effort to finish the innings on time. They didn't get any advantage out of this move meaning they didn't hurt the spirit of the game.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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