England ‘at end of cycle’ in ODIs – Michael Atherton

Former England captain Michael Atherton said the current one-day side could be “at the end of the cycle” after another poor batting display at the World Cup.

England won the toss and elected to bat in a must-win group game against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru, but collapsed to 156 all out with nearly seven overs remaining.

Jos Buttler’s side never looked capable of mounting an imposing target despite Moeen Ali’s pre-match assertion that England would play aggressive cricket with no fear.

Sky Sports pundit Atherton said: “It’s all very saying what you want to do when you’re struggling and down on confidence, it’s not always easy to put those fine words and aspirations into practice.

“We’ve all been there in teams that are low on confidence and are struggling. No team has a divine right to be at the top of its game all the time.”

Ben Stokes (43) and openers Jonny Bairstow (30) and Dawid Malan (28) were the only batters to make any impression as wickets fell at regular intervals against a Sri Lanka side who had also won only one of their first four matches.

Atherton added: “We’ve looked at the factors over the last five games of this competition, but if you look a bit deeper you could argue this is a team at the end of the cycle.

“You could argue that the lack of 50-over cricket and the lack of England’s ability to put what they consider to be their best one-day team in 50-over cricket has camouflaged some of the weaknesses and decline that we’ve seen.

“It’s all come together in the performances we’ve seen in Mumbai over the last couple of days and this one here in Bengaluru today.”