Former captain Ian Botham has questioned England's presumptuous gameplan, after Sri Lanka screamed to a convincing 157-run victory in Sunday's second ODI at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham.
Former captain Ian Botham has questioned England's presumptuous gameplan, after Sri Lanka screamed to a convincing 157-run victory in Sunday's second ODI in Chester-le-Street, Durham.
Having conceded 256 for eight in the wake of opposition opener Tillakaratne Dilshan's commanding 88, the English slipped to a mere 99 all out in 26.1 overs at the Riverside Ground.
"It's a crushing victory for Sri Lanka in conditions which are difficult for them. Man of the match Dilshan normally gets down on one knee and hits it over his head and plays outrageous shots - but not here," Botham told Sky Sports.
"I'd suggest England, chasing down 256, didn't read that situation. They didn't assess it right. I thought it started when they were fielding; there were soft dropped catches, they persisted with bowling short at players. It was embarrassing.
"We saw Sri Lanka, when they got a couple of wickets put another slip in, had a short-leg straight away for Ravi Bopara. I just think at times we sit there thinking it will just happen. It doesn't just happen. At times you've got to make it happen. They say the ground's not full but why would you pay and come and watch that?"
Fast bowler Harry Gurney and Chris Jordan proved particularly expensive, while seamer Nuwan Kulasekara exploited a pitch void of swing superbly. Kulasekara proved instrumental in removing openers Michael Carberry and Ian Bell - and the in-form Gary Ballance - cheaply.
"Nuwan, when he came on for his first over, went for eight. He was trying to get it up there and swing it. He realised it wasn't swinging so he changed his tact totally in the next over, bowling with a little more pace and banging it in just back of a length. He adjusted to the conditions," added Botham.
The five-match series is currently locked after a win apiece. Old Trafford in Manchester, Lord's in London and Edgbaston in Birmingham will host fixtures three, four and five on 28 and 31 May - and 3 June - respectively. Two Tests will follow.