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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Shambolic England on brink of World Cup exit as Sri Lanka dominate

England’s hopes of defending their World Cup crown are dangling by a thread after a woeful batting display against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru.

The 2019 champions came into today’s clash knowing they needed to win all five of their remaining group games to stand a chance of making the semi-finals.

But, with Sri Lanka in the same position, Jos Buttler’s men struggled in the face of some excellent bowling, and were dismissed for just 156 inside 34 overs.

Only five batters reached double figures with Test skipper Ben Stokes top scoring with 43.

Angelo Mathews, recalled to the Sri Lanka squad due to an injury to Matheesha Pathirana, did much of the damage, the 35-year-old claiming two for 14 and playing key role in the run out of Joe Root with a sharp bit of fielding.

England actually started relatively well with Yorkshire duo Jonny Bairstow (30) and Dawid Malan (28) looking untroubled against Sri Lanka’s opening bowlers.

But Mathews’ nous proved key with the old-stager getting one to bounce up sharply, take the edge of Malan’s bat and Kusal Mendis did the rest behind the stumps.

Mathews then did for Root with a sharp throw from point after the 32-year-old set off for a run that was never on.

England’s early confidence was visibly disappearing and the mental scars created by the thrashing at the hands of South Africa at the weekend were starting to show.

Bairstow got out to a horrible cross-bat hoik to mid-on, Buttler (8) wafted at a Lahiru Kumara delivery outside off and edged to Mendis and Liam Livingstone (one) did little to justify his recall by being trapped in front to the same bowler.

Stokes and Moeen Ali were tasked with rebuilding the innings and did manage to put on 37 for the sixth wicket before the latter was snared by the excellent Mathews for 15.

With no recognised batters to come, Stokes had to produce one of his special innings but that proved beyond even him and when he holed out to substitute fielder Madi Hemantha off Kumara, the game was up.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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