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

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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Posted by Neutral_Guy on (October 2, 2012, 19:15 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, 15:32 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, 12:53 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, 12:23 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, 10:48 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, 9:39 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, 9:29 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, 8:19 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, 7:42 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, 7:24 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.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

lions want the cup, and we are the best spirit of the cricket team!

Posted by Afridynamite on (October 2, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

@__PK I totally agree, this captaincy switch was a sham! a total disgrace! Can they uphold the spirit of the game please?

Posted by asanka on (October 2, 2012, 3:49 GMT)

@ Lmalinga : You've got the point buddy "lol at spirit of cricket thing..what about gilchrist having a squash ball in the glove then??"

Posted by   on (October 2, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

At least 'team-unity' will now ensure that every1 blurts out the same rehearsed comment about the performance as broad/flower....God forbid, KP might've tweeted something that the rest of the boys hadn't rehearsed, hence letting the world know that the ranking system just like the duck-worth-nothing-louis system along with the bowler's kicking system is just plain stupid

Posted by ponting100 on (October 2, 2012, 2:51 GMT)

Maybe a way to penalise teams for slow over-rate - which is important in the flow of the game, especially T20 - is to penalise the bowling 1 run for every minute that they are over the innings time limit.

Posted by Karnain on (October 2, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

Malinga's sensational over was his first over not the second as mentioned in this article.

Posted by Sudhirhk on (October 2, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

What spirit of the game? Nobody should care less as to who calls the shots when on the field or who is present at the toss. If you can have substitute fielders why not have substitute captains? They are making unnecessary issue out of this thing which bears no malice to the game. In fact the ICC should change this stupid rule of penalizing the captain for slow over rates.

Posted by   on (October 2, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

Smart move, and I often wondered why teams are not doing that often and thought that irrespective of who turn out for the toss the captain of the squad named prior to the tournament will be penalized. But all other teams should exploit it. Felt this in the 3rd season of IPL when Sachin was the captain and in great form but was one game away from suspension that they should have used this tactics.

Posted by St.John on (October 1, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

The spirit of the game thing should go.... Its passe and namby pamby. There is no such thing in football,Rugby,(Eye gorging)Tennis,ice hockey,basket etc. where no quarter is given and none accepted. Just watch a premier league football match. Cricket isn't the 'genteeel' game it was many decades ago. Things have changed, attitudes have changed...

Posted by __PK on (October 1, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

Every Sri Lankan fan who supports this captaincy switch loses the right to complain about Gilchrist's squash ball forever. The squash ball was legal and in the spirit of the game and the rules. The captaincy switch was a cynical attempt to use a loophole in the rule designed to stop timewasting. So if the over-rate was bad last night, would it have been Dilshan's turn next time around? Disgraceful.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 22:48 GMT)

spirit of the game and go to the hell , we want the cup ,well done Sri Lions !

Posted by vrn59 on (October 1, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Haha, Jayawardene and Sangakkara's captaincy p ticks are interesting... I don't think it's against the spirit of the game; it's a silly rule to penalize the captain for slow over rate anyway

Posted by Patchmaster on (October 1, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

Broad should not be captain of England. It should be Morgan.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

He sent in Kumara because Mahela had lost 9 tosses in a row! And if you can rest batsmen and bowlers, why can't you rest the captain's brains :)

Posted by Crunchtime1 on (October 1, 2012, 21:52 GMT)

Englands' batting is too weak. Minus Morgan, who is pretty good (not world class yet), name another solid batsman? Also they could have picked absolutely anyone to play instead of Bopara... Petiersen will be absolutely loving this, and so he should, he should have been picked and now the gaping hole he has left in the top order has been painfully thrown in the collective face of the englands' management...even more... Sri Lanka look good to win it, the Ind/Pak in the semis will be their hardest game from their view i reckon, especially India due to their familiarity with malinga/mendis (yes i am already dismissing SA chokers). PS watson is Mr australia atm.

Posted by nickmaniar on (October 1, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

Against spirit of cricket my foot .. first of all the rule of penalising the captain for slow over rate is ridiculous. No other sport does that, in soccer the individual player who is causing the delay gets penalised or in American Football the team gets penalised not the captain.

Posted by d1n0 on (October 1, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

I thought it was brilliant and has nothing to do with the Spirit of the game. Its a silly rule really. Specially in an important tournament like this. Suspension of your captain for something like slow over rate? I thought it was a shame when Dhoni was suspended earlier this year for the same reason. At least SL learned something from that. I'm sure there are other more serious offences that can warrant a suspension. I say increase the fine on each occasion.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (October 1, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

I was having a bad day, but luckily England's comedy selection, batting collapse and the little tantrums while fielding cheered me up. Thanks England. And please keep selecting Bopara.

Posted by Rastus on (October 1, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Maybe Flower has finally realised that a happy dressing room is not the most important thing in cricket. A cricket tour is not a holiday it is a job and the best players should be in the team and told to get on with it. England supporters have spent a lot of money to go to this championship and have been let down by the English management. Maybe it is time for Flower to take his ego and stupid ideas somewhere else.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

you can have the "spirit of the game"....let us enjoy the "victory". Cricket is on life support due to these stupid tag....spirit of the game, gentleman's s game, etc. It was nice to have those tags 2 centuries ago but to make the game exciting and players giving everything on the field do not need them..

Posted by LMalinga on (October 1, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

lol at spirit of cricket thing..what about gilchrist having a squash ball in the glove then??

Posted by Rick777 on (October 1, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

If the captain of the day move was done by Ind, Oz or Eng it would have been a top class decision & masterstroke. If it was Dhoni, he would be called the mastermind. Any other team including SL did this & it harms the spirit of the game.

SL who always brings out good strategies and have performed in all the recent WCs to a huge extent. It will be the same this time.

Super move Mahela & Sanga. Keep it up.

Note: ICC to bring in steps to stop the 'Captain of the Day' move which harms the spirit of the game.

Posted by Varun_Subramanian on (October 1, 2012, 20:54 GMT)

one correction, it was malinga's first over...

Posted by binojpeter on (October 1, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

If Sangakkara did not captain, it is against spirit of cricket, in my opinion.

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

It was Lasith Malinga's First over not Second. Awesome Performance SL

Posted by xylo on (October 1, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

Oh please... switching captains is contrary to the spirit of the game? I couldn't care less about that.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (October 1, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

fantastic article..............................

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

no confusion only affirmation

Posted by   on (October 1, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

Over of the day was not the third over of the innings

Posted by mushahith on (October 1, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

there is error in this article as highlighted. LASINTH MALINGA'S SECOND OVER. Correction: Malinga's first over.

because Malinga took three wicket in his first over

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.

Posted by Nmiduna on (October 1, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

spirit of cricket huh?>>come on mate, we want the cup, there are tougher games ahead and mendis remains a scare to me, i think its better to go with herath in the semi..atleast he'll be safer!

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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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