The downfall of England marks a disappointing surrender of their World Cup championship title.
The England team’s performance at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was devoured with delight by Sri Lanka, much like a freshly made paratha on the busy Church Street in Bengaluru. It was a complete surrender of their World Cup title rather than a gradual loss.
In a crucial game where victory was necessary to maintain slim chances, the initial advantages were brief. Jos Buttler, the team captain, chose to bat after previously experiencing struggles while chasing. Jonny Bairstow was saved on the first ball due to Sri Lanka’s decision not to review an lbw call. He then had a partnership of 45 runs with Dawid Malan.
However, it seemed like a recreation of cricket history afterwards. England’s score of 156 all out in 33.2 overs resembled the devastating collapses from the past, such as in 1999 and 2015. Their scoring was limited and they made several mistakes, ultimately leading to a disappointing eight-wicket loss.
At the top or possibly bottom were the two instances of being run-out during the day. Can you believe how many times Joe Root and Bairstow have quickly run between wickets for both Yorkshire and England? However, their supposed connection as players from Yorkshire disappeared in the moment, as Root did not make it back to his designated area when a hit to Angelo Mathews at backward point was returned with force.
Not much can be anticipated from Adil Rashid’s batting abilities currently, as his last first-class century was in 2015. With England at a score of 147 for eight, the game seemed to be over. However, despite being 35 years old, Rashid should have known better than to mistake a wide ball for a dead ball. The experienced cricketer was caught off guard by Kusal Mendis, who noticed his carelessness as a non-striker and threw with the accuracy of a skilled carnival game player.
However, there is even more responsibility to be placed on those above Rashid, both during the recent match in Bengaluru and the past three weeks as a whole. What was once a dominant batting lineup in 50-over cricket has now diminished greatly. There are numerous dismissals that exemplify this, such as Buttler’s, a highly skilled player in white-ball cricket, who has only managed to change from a timid edge to a more aggressive one on this tour.
Few saw such a meltdown coming a month ago, even if performances since made it eminently possible. There has been talk this past week of bringing back the fun, going harder, or even the quasi-sudden-death scenario freeing minds through its stark clarity. The words were said with a lack of conviction, however, with their cricket following suit.
All of this did not happen without any external factors. During the match, England’s performance was as poor as the noisy traffic around them, while Sri Lanka’s team displayed a strong presence on the field and constantly challenged England with their bowling. This was especially evident with Lahiru Kumara, who took three wickets for 35 runs and reminded English fans of Liam Plunkett’s dominance in the middle overs, a role that has not been successfully filled since.
The chase was very smooth and did not even need Mathews, who was positioned at number 7, to help Sri Lanka win. However, the experienced player, who has caused trouble for the English team in the past, did play a crucial role in the match. He responded to his last-minute inclusion by getting Root out and also dismissing Malan and Moeen Ali.
Congratulations to Mathews, who was initially not selected for Sri Lanka’s team but instead of feeling upset, he chose to train at the high performance center in Colombo. Despite struggling with injuries in recent years, the 35-year-old worked hard to regain his status as an all-rounder. His medium-pace bowling was perfectly suited for the challenging pitch and the opposition team’s lack of confidence.
The reason for this doubt will be discussed as England completes the rest of their four remaining matches on their difficult tour. It could be a result of the team’s aging, as this is the first time that all 11 players in their ODI squad are over 30 years old. This statistic, along with their recent performances, supports the idea that their golden era may have come to an end.
However, the situation is not straightforward. The upcoming T20 World Cup will be held in the Caribbean and the USA next year. Will Buttler have the opportunity to defend – or as he stated upon arriving in India, to attack – the second trophy in the team’s collection? It is also worth noting that all but one member of the current squad have received new contracts this week.
The player to miss out? David Willey, who was unbeaten with the bat and claimed the two Sri Lanka wickets to fall. Just like the run-outs and England’s paratha‑like lineup on the day, it rather summed up how a once trend-setting ODI side have lost direction.