Sri Lanka defeat unlike Champions Trophy loss to Pakistan: Morgan

On the eve of the game, Dimuth Karunaratne had rated England as “best players of spin”, and stressed on the need to restrict them to under 300 to have a chance. Of course Karunarathne spoke expecting England to turn up like they have in the last four years, and the pitch to be typically Headingley. No other English venue in the last decade has had a higher bowling average for spinners in ODIs.
Karunarathne won the toss but chose to bat, perhaps swayed away by a pitch that looked slower than he expected. Sri Lanka huffed and puffed to 232 but that wasn’t going to challenge this England side, even if there was spin for Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid in the first innings. But things started happening at the turn of the innings. Sri Lanka found home in Headingley, using the conditions and a bit of panic from England, to make the most of a pitch conducive to their style of bowling. It wasn’t quite the green pitches they had to endure match after match, to the extent that they felt the need to lodge an official complaint with the ICC about unfair treatment meted out to them.
The pitch was very similar to what was on offer for the 2017 Champions Trophy semifinal, which England lost to Pakistan. But Eoin Morgan, the England captain, feels that the defeat to Sri Lanka was different to the one to Pakistan couple of years back.
“In that game (against Pakistan) in particular, one side batted really well and the other didn’t. In this (against Sri Lanka), both teams struggled,” Morgan said after England’s 20-run defeat in Leeds. “You look at the basics of a run chase. You know, partnerships are very important. We struggled to get enough partnerships going, or one substantial one. There were a couple of individual innings. But that is not good enough to win a game.”
England had come into the World Cup as red-hot favourites, which they still are, but their qualification to the final four doesn’t seem so easy right now. They are yet to face Australia, India and New Zealand – the three teams that have looked the strongest. India and New Zealand are yet to drop a game this World Cup.
“We are going to lose games in the group stages. We didn’t deserve to win today’s game,” Morgan said. “I think the message is quite simple. We need to do the basics along with the way that we play as well.
“I would say there were quite a few wickets that were turning points, simply in the fact that you have got guys coming in at 6 who average 40, 7 averaging 30. We bat all the way down. So every single one is quite significant because every single one could establish a partnership that could win you the game.”
England play Australia next. The last time they lost a game to Pakistan, they came back strong, winning three on the trot, and Morgan expects the same from England again. “I think when we get beaten we tend to come back quite strong. We tend to resort to being aggressive, smart, positive cricket, so let’s hope that is the case on Tuesday,” Morgan said.