2015 World Cup – Game 22 – England v Sri Lanka

Wellington. Eight days ago. Annihilation.

Welcome back England, for an important game in the qualification process. Win, and we may get South Africa or India, lose and we may get South Africa or India. There’s a lot riding on this one. Actually, that’s being facetious. The big game in this group may not be this one, although winning it would help, but the one against Bangladesh. I’m looking past Afghanistan which may not be wise, but the Sri Lankans have alread buried Bangla and struggled past Afgha, so they have their two wins out of the way.

This thread is for comments as the game goes on. Also, follow my other alter ego, you know what it is, on Twitter for comments through the evening.

The past form guide isn’t good. We lost in 2011, in the quarters, in a stuffing. We lost in 2007, in the Super 8s, when Ravi and Paul Nixon came so close to snatching a win, which I was trying to listen to while at the same time listen to my future wife in the car back from Heathrow Airport, having not seen her for around 2 months! She still doesn’t understand this obsession with cricket. In 2003 we didn’t meet, whereas we did in 1999 when we won a low-key damp opening day game (I had a George Sharp anecdote re no play at The Oval, then found out it was another time – probably 2004… only five years out). Then there was Faisalabad in 1996, memorable for the brainstorm of picking Phil de Freitas and getting him to bowl spin! Brilliant times. Oh those Illingworth years….

64 thoughts on “2015 World Cup – Game 22 – England v Sri Lanka

  1. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    Broad just said Morgan and Buttler are in the top ten ball strikers in the world in a sky interview. WTF does this smoke?


    • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 12:36 am

      In Stuart Broad’s world, anyway.


  2. Rohan Feb 28, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    Broad talking claptrap! The Nick Knight piece on Moeen, however, was actually informative, insightful and well presented, not bad……….

    Time to bat……


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Feb 28, 2015 / 11:53 pm

      Doesn’t he always talk crap these days. It’s almost as though he has swallowed a robot.


  3. d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    England unchanged. Is it me or is Ballance lucky to be still in?


    • Arron Wright Feb 28, 2015 / 11:00 pm

      To think people used to complain about Trott at 3 in ODIs, with his 51 average and doing exactly what Cook couldn’t.

      Ballance here, now, is simply the worst selection since Bresnan ahead of Panesar at Ahmedabad 2012. Utterly indefensible.


    • Annie Weatherly-Barton Feb 28, 2015 / 11:58 pm

      Why is Ballance still in the team? It’s just unbelievable. Ballance 6 of 12.2 bloody overs. These bozo selectors need kicking into touch. Useless morons. And can anyone tell me why he is in at 3? So with Bell now gone we’ve got a few who can bat well and let’s hope they do. I reckon they need 300 against Sri Lanka to be in with a chance. I just don’t see that happening. Root is doing well tho and that is good news. Well if England lose this match then I think the current ECB incumbents must be booted out. Surely!!!


      • Annie Weatherly-Barton Feb 28, 2015 / 11:59 pm

        Whoops made a mistake there about Ballance and overs. Silly me. Ignore me. It’s late. I need me bed. Nite all you lovely people.


      • Grumpy Gaz Mar 1, 2015 / 7:17 am

        I believe Ballance’s form in white-ball county cricket is actually pretty good. I have no problem with him being in the squad, I have a major problem with him being at number 3 when that position was clearly owned by a better player.

        But then what do I know, being outside cricket and all.


  4. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    Bell looks like his got nine lives! 4 possible catches go begging and only 4 overs have been bowled.


  5. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    Ali goes, very tame! England 62-1 after 9.2

    Good start!


    • Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 10:58 pm

      Ballance goes now, looked rubbish from ball one. Got to feel sorry for the bloke, didn’t bat for several months get put in at number 3 in the World Cup and expected to perform!


    • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 11:05 pm

      I don’t blame Ballance. He should never have been thrust into #3, with exactly 0 games in that position in the tri-series and the warmups. Apparently he does not even bat at #3 for Yorkshire.

      What was Moores thinking? You finally had a #3 who looked the goods since Trott’s unfortunate problems, so you demote him to #6?


      • LordCanisLupus Feb 28, 2015 / 11:08 pm

        My fear is it carries over to the test team for GB. Confidence must be at a real low. A brilliant exercise in man management.


      • Phil Feb 28, 2015 / 11:21 pm

        Apart from Morgan/Cook this team probably will be the test team. I fear a summer embarassment.


  6. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 11:29 pm

    Bell does it again, good start and then gets out!


    • LordCanisLupus Feb 28, 2015 / 11:30 pm

      It’s the hope that kills you. You’d think we’d know by now.


      • Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 11:47 pm

        His our Watson. Plenty of ability but just never took the final leap to being a complete player.

        Saying that I do remember home ashes of 2013.


  7. d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 12:22 am

    159/3 after 34 overs. A reasonable platform, but given the size of the ground, England need to play the last 16 overs well to set an imposing target. 250 won’t do here.


  8. Timmy Mar 1, 2015 / 12:23 am

    Morgan goes with power play due in a few balls. What to say? FFS


  9. d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 12:24 am

    And Morgan goes shortly after, 27 from 47 balls. The kind of innings that kills momentum, rather than building it.


    • Timmy Mar 1, 2015 / 12:28 am

      Such a joke! Get out quickly if you must but please ffs don’t take up 47 balls and not make a noticeable contribution to the score!


  10. Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 12:45 am

    What’s really intriguing is how Sri Lanka’s second string bowlers really took advantage. You have Perera and Dilshan and Mathews between them having bowled 23 overs at below 4 rpo. England will, at least, probably use all their overs.

    Malinga and Lakmal are coming on for their second spell, and Herath has been pretty expensive. But thanks to those other three going well, Mathews has a hand full of options.

    (at 38th over)


    • d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 1:04 am

      It seems the England batsmen are stuck in the crease. Is there really a good reason why the batsmen can’t walk down the pitch to Perera?


      • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 1:12 am

        When they start doing that to Sammy, Ramdin comes up to the stumps. I don’t know whether Perera is too quick for that. Well, to judge by what Taylor just did, looks like he isn’t too quick.


  11. Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 1:08 am

    Root got his hundred. But England’s going to be what, 20 or 30 short?


    • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 1:13 am

      OK, the Perera over is sorting this out.


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 1, 2015 / 1:17 am

        Nice to see England cut loose. Invigorating. And as I write, Taylor goes.


      • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 1:28 am

        Bringing back Herath – captaincy call of the match so far. That took stones, and reaps a reward.


  12. Timmy Mar 1, 2015 / 1:21 am

    Ouch! What a first ball to get for Buttler.


  13. d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 1:22 am

    Buttler’s first ball has me worried :(. Hope it is nothing too serious.


  14. d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 1:40 am

    And now an injury to Herath. Luckily it is at the 48.5 over mark, so it is just one ball that is going to be bowled by Perera. That one went for 4.


  15. Timmy Mar 1, 2015 / 1:49 am

    England 309-6

    Hmmm, feels like it’s a good score but a vulnerable score.


    • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 1:55 am

      In the absence of any genius bowling or incompetent batting, this’ll be close. I think if Sri Lanka are 150 for 3 at 30 overs with someone with a half century still batting, at that point, they’ll pull it in.


  16. Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 3:53 am

    First four overs of Thirimanne-Sangakarra: 14 singles, 1 2, 2 4s, for 24 runs. But mainly 14 singles.


    • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 4:52 am

      Kumar Sangakkara co-owns a restaurant called ‘Ministry of Crab’. If the crab there is as good as his batting today, then the crabs will not have died in vain. At over 38, 227-1, scientific.


      • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 5:28 am

        300-1 at over 46. 200 partnership. 10 required. Precise!


      • Pontiac Mar 1, 2015 / 5:35 am

        That whole deal was a masterfully tastefully paced chase, like a late Haydn symphony.


  17. Rooto Mar 1, 2015 / 5:45 am

    Like being held over a Louis XV chair and flayed with freshly steamed asparagus. No fun, but full of admirable artistry.


    • Boz Mar 1, 2015 / 6:51 am

      watch out, you’ll make Selvey jealous! :0)


  18. Grumpy Gaz Mar 1, 2015 / 7:22 am

    I might have mis-heard being half asleep but I’m sure Atherton said the 5-0 Ashes was a one-off and something you can discount. That is the second time I’ve heard that from the press in the last year and I wonder if that’s is the ECB’s unofficial take on it? What a fantastic way to manage your worst ever series defeat; pretend it was a fluke and nothing is wrong.

    Goes a along way to explaining the mess English cricket is in right now. Brace yourselves for the summer guys!


  19. Arron Wright Mar 1, 2015 / 7:40 am

    Stayed up listening to radio until end of our innings. Just woke up to check result. Honestly gobsmacked. More demoralising than NZ thrashing for me, and far harder to brush under the carpet.


    • Arron Wright Mar 1, 2015 / 7:48 am

      Oh, just seen Finn’s figures. Back to his best, oh yes. Or are we to discount this along with the two overs at McCullum?5


      • Boz Mar 1, 2015 / 7:59 am

        what about having 2 of the world’s best one day players in the top 10?


        this pitch was a 250/270 par therefore england scored higher than par??

        all england players are now auto-speak stats moronic robots – not human, even?

        where does it all come from????


  20. Arron Wright Mar 1, 2015 / 8:06 am

    Everyone MUST read thebigfeller’s post below Selvey’s match report.


  21. d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 8:06 am

    This is one of the worst bowling performances in the history of the World Cup, while defending a sizable target. I would even say the worst.

    231/0 is the worst 10 wicket defeat, and 312/1 is worst effort in a 9 wicket defeat. Those were England’s last two efforts against Sri Lanka in World Cups. 543/1, from 86.5 overs. Depressing.

    In terms of figures, Ali was the best bowler forEngland. I would have suspected that given the efforts of Dilshan and Herath first up, and the fact that pace went for plenty. Why can’t Tredwell get a game?

    Apparently Morgan said something like: ” We were flexible in our batting order, but we thought it was right to send James when he went in.” Is this true, and does anyone actually believe that?

    As for brushing under the carpet: Selfey, Newman and their ilk have practiced the art of polishing turds for more than a year. They probably won’t disappoint. Now suddenly the World Cup is all about beating Bangladesh to take the “all that could be expected”-quarter final slot. Do the ECB and the press think we’re all lobotomized?


    • Boz Mar 1, 2015 / 8:34 am

      “Do the ECB and the press think we’re all lobotomized?”

      they don’t think that at all – we are not in their vision

      they think too much of themselves to think of anybody else!


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 1, 2015 / 8:38 am

      Newman has Moores in his cross hairs. He’s writing as if he’s not sold at all to be fair.


    • BoerInAustria Mar 1, 2015 / 8:59 am

      my post to Selvey has been sitting in mod-room for more than an hour:

      Well played SL – A match that unfortunately again hides the problems for England, as this report shows.

      The Batting:
      “…Based around … excellent batting… Root, the innings had been … well-constructed…” – what?
      “…England were pegged back, …when …Ballance, still struggling …” – quite
      “…the board read only 101-3 with 21 overs all but gone…” – indeed
      “…Taylor proved to be a scampering foil to Root” – from 34.4 – 45.3 overs!!
      “…Now Buttler was able to play the sort of bombastic innings…” from 45.4 overs!!
      “…For the second match running England…had topped 300… “ – oh yes, the laptop!
      “… It was very competitive.” – Well not really – why

      The Bowling:
      “…On an excellent pitch to play pace, the England seam bowlers were toothless…”
      “… lacking the speed or guile to compensate for the absence of the swing they had hoped ….”
      “…Sangakkara….. is a supreme player who fed voraciously on the short ball in particular”
      ”…Only when spinners bowled did ….life became more difficult Maybe James Tredwell..”.

      The fielding
      “…The fielding too became ragged and shoddy.”

      The positive: we now have stability in the selection – unfortunately with the wrong team…

      PS -I thought Finn “is back”?


  22. hatmallet Mar 1, 2015 / 9:37 am

    I actually felt optimistic when I went to bed at the interval. 300 is difficult to chase whoever you are. How depressing to wake up to a 9 wicket thrashing.


  23. Mark Mar 1, 2015 / 9:46 am

    A lot of people said before this tournament that Englands biggest weakness is their bowling. Our batting is not the best, but we can cobble together decent scores from time to time as we proved in this match. But the bowling is woeful. We can neither contain or take wickets it seems. we don’t produce enough genuinely fast bowlers any more or great spinners. Swann was an exception In recent years. Why? Who knows? A lot of fast bowlers in decades gone by came from more working class backgrounds (Larwood, Truemam, Gough, Harmison, Flintoff, Jones, Hoggard,Anderson, even Botham went to a state school) cricket is not played in the state system anymore. And the ECB seems to like funnelling money to the middle classes in the shires.

    However, what talent does come through is messed about by England bowling coaches. Is this a downside to Central contracts that take bowlers away from playing cricket and put them in constant net practice and laptop analysis?

    Selvey should resign from the Gaurdian. He has defended the England bowling coach for too long, and writes pompous defences of failure. As for Newman turning on Moores , the worm turned the moment his beloved Cook was shown the door. All of these issues should have been examined by the cricket press. Instead they chose to attack us outsiders because we only cared about KP. Not true, but they were to lazy and complicit to call the ECB to account.


  24. SimonH Mar 1, 2015 / 11:59 am

    England’s bowling averages:


    Broad and Anderson have virtually identical figures (90+ average, nearly 6.3 RPO). No side is going to be winning matches with senior bowlers getting those sorts of returns.

    At no time could I see a bowling strategy to try to take wickets. Unless hoping the opposition make a mistake counts as a strategy.


  25. metatone Mar 1, 2015 / 1:05 pm

    It’s all been said, but for emphasis, and catharsis, I need to put my oar in:

    1) If you spend your practice time (and warm-up matches!) aiming for 270, then 309 will look good to you. Unfortunately, this was a 350 pitch. Biggest culprit – the middle overs attitude. With a good dash of our incompetence against the type of bowling SL brings to the middle overs.

    2) We can’t play quality speed, swing, seam or spin. Any wonder we can’t do the job?

    2)a) As a Yorks fan, I have to say – Ballance is better than this, but he’s been betrayed by the coaches. From no games for months to #3 at the WC, is there any better way to set someone up for failure?

    3) What might have been? I think given how much is about mentality and attitude and other failings, you can’t help but wonder how we might have had this batting lineup instead:

    Tresco, Hales, Trott, KP, Bell, Moeen, Buttler:

    with players like Root, Morgan and Taylor in reserve… not to mention others like Carberry, Vince, etc.

    Now some of those losses may be unfair to blame on the ECB & coaches (Tresco & Trott) but maybe not… part of our failure has been a lack of care for characters who need a little extra attention.

    4) As bad as the batting was at points, and for all that it epitomised (as thebigfeller says) our negative attitude, the bowling was even more depressing.

    5) How is it that we enter the competition relying on Anderson, when he’s just back from injury? All the more so when we know that he’s vulnerable in ODIs anyway, and all the more so without swing. Look at this description to understand how toothless Anderson is without helpful conditions.

    6) How did we end up opening the bowling with Broad, when by kph measures at least, it’s obvious he isn’t fit and firing again?

    7) What happened to all the talk of England finally having good stocks of fast bowling? Gone up in smoke, we suspect fuelled by bad coaching at Loughborough and maybe from Saker too.

    8) If nothing else, Saker is responsible for the bowling plans that just aren’t working. This slow bouncer thing just isn’t doing the business.

    9) How the fsck is it that people can still say with a straight face that “Tredwell isn’t suited for these pitches” after watching how toothless Woakes and Anderson are on these pitches. Once again our preparations in the warm-up tournament are shown to be farcical. We didn’t explore all the bowling options, so we have no plan B. We didn’t give Ballance any practice, no wonder he looks out of form now.


    • SimonH Mar 1, 2015 / 6:09 pm

      “he’s vulnerable in ODIs anyway, and all the more so without swing”.

      The lack of swing is too easily blamed on external conditions in my view. It would have been interesting to see Southee or Starc bowl in Wellington today – would they have swung it? England didn’t get much swing after Southee’s seven-for which McCullum’s blitz conveniently overshadowed.

      Maybe lack of swing is partly because their pace is right down? Maybe it is because all these half-trackers and cross-seamers England bowl wreck the ball?

      Also, whatever happened to trying cutters? The occasional ball (like the ones that dismissed Ballance and Dilshan) was sticking in the wicket and it seemed worth a try. Frankly, anything but what they were doing was worth a try.


  26. SimonH Mar 1, 2015 / 2:09 pm


  27. Arron Wright Mar 1, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    OK, this isn’t quite Dobell and Miller (what is).

    But Geoff is on fine, uncompromising form, particularly when he rips into Joe Root’s post-match interview:



    • ZeroBullshit Mar 1, 2015 / 4:46 pm

      I heard Boycott live. He was very good indeed. 🙂


  28. SimonH Mar 1, 2015 / 5:39 pm


    • d'Arthez Mar 1, 2015 / 7:00 pm

      That tweet tells only half the story.

      England, batting first, only got to 300 or more 29 times to begin with. A W/L ratio of just 2.1, which is the worst W/L ratio for all teams, with the exception of Ireland (who only got there 4 times, and have a W/L ratio of 1).

      Australia 73 65 7 0 1 9.285
      India 62 53 8 1 0 6.625
      South Africa 55 50 4 0 1 12.500
      Pakistan 49 45 4 0 0 11.250
      Sri Lanka 40 36 4 0 0 9.000
      New Zealand 35 31 3 1 0 10.333
      West Indies 32 25 7 0 0 3.571


  29. SimonH Mar 1, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    ‘The Verdict’ just confirmed what anybody watching knew – England bowled too short.

    To RHBs (well, Dilshan) the seamers bowled 42% of the deliveries short. To LHBs it was 39% short.


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