Cricket World Cup: Eoin Morgan blames bowlers as England lose

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Wellington
James Anderson, Chris Woakes & Eoin Morgan
England have lost three of their opening four World Cup games

Captain Eoin Morgan blamed England's bowlers after their nine-wicket humbling by Sri Lanka at the World Cup.

England posted 309-6 but saw that overhauled with 16 balls left to suffer a third heavy defeat in four matches.

"We were way off the mark today," Morgan said. "When we are bowling well, it's a good attack but you can pick it apart when we're not bowling well."

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said Morgan and coach Peter Moores have no "aura of leadership" about them.

Cricket World Cup 2015: Geoffrey Boycott on 'average' England

Lahiru Thirimanne, who was dropped twice, and Kumar Sangakkara both made unbeaten centuries as Sri Lanka became only the second team to chase a one-day international target in excess of 300 for the loss of only one wicket.

This latest heavy defeat for England came after they were soundly beaten in their opening two matches against Australia and New Zealand with their only victory coming against Scotland.

"This is harder to take than those first two losses," said batsman Morgan. "I thought our score was about 25 above par.

"We created a couple of chances that went down, so that was disappointing."

England will almost certainly be eliminated if they lose either of their final two games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and Bangladesh beat Scotland on Thursday.

"It's not even a thought at the moment," said the 28-year-old left-hander. "We have two games to win to get us into a quarter-final."

Lakmal fined for bowling beamer
Sri Lanka fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was fined 30% of his match fee by ICC match referee David Boon for bowling two beamers - high full tosses - at England's Jos Buttler in the 50th over of England's innings. Lakmal was taken out of the attack by the on-field umpire
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne
The unbroken 212 partnership between Thirimanne and Sangakkara was Sri Lanka's third highest in World Cups

Worse than Afghanistan?

On a slow Wellington wicket, England continued with their policy of selecting four front-line seamers and omitting off-spinner James Tredwell, who is yet to feature at the tournament.

And opener Thirimanne said that composition of England's attack made the Sri Lanka chase an easier task.

"This wicket was really flat, with nothing for the fast bowlers," said the left-hander. "There was no seam, no swing. It helped a lot."

Thirimanne was also asked if the England attack was better than that of Afghanistan, who managed to take six Sri Lanka wickets when defending 232.

"To be honest, that day the Afghanistan bowlers did very well, even if there was a little bit in the wicket," said Thirimanne. "Today was easy for me."

England's World Cup bowling averages

England fans look away now

Cricket World Cup 2015: England's defeat by Sri Lanka in numbers
  • England have lost nine of the 29 ODIs in which they have made 300 batting first, the worst percentage among Test-playing teams.
  • Eoin Morgan's side are only the second team to lose an ODI by nine wickets after posting 300 in the first innings.
  • Spinner Moeen Ali, who took 1-50 from 10 overs, was the only bowler with an economy rate lower than six runs an over.
  • England have taken only one wicket in their last two World Cup matches against Sri Lanka.
  • Paceman James Anderson's bowling average at this World Cup is 91. He has taken two wickets in 29 overs, conceding 6.27 runs per over.

On the bright side, England passed 300 in consecutive World Cup matches batting first for the first time since 1979.

Pool A table
1New Zealand4400+3.598
2Sri Lanka4310+0.136

The Geoffrey Boycott verdict

"Sorry, but the coach and captain don't do it for me. If I was on their plane they don't give me an aura of leadership. I need more than that.

"I've played under quiet people like Mike Brearley. Excellent captain. He got his point over. Brian Close was in your face, Raymond Illingworth had a clever brain. You always felt 'fine, this guy is in charge, this guy has ideas, this guy has something going on in his head and some plans'.

"It's a results-orientated business. They are all nice lads with nice families but that is immaterial. If we can't cut it any better somebody has to pay the price. It happens in football. You have to inject something different into the team. If you are a captain, coach, bowler, batsman and you can't cut it you have to go."

Joe Root
Joe Root has scored four ODI centuries batting at number four

What did the other experts say?

Former England captain Michael Vaughan:external-link "We are watching a era of cricket where if you are predictable you will end up with a predictable outcome..."

Ex-England spinner Graeme Swann:external-link "A positive thing that can come of this World Cup is that maybe the top brass will realise just how out of date our approach is."

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen:external-link "Not the result I wanted waking up to. Joe Root must have played well - good stuff, bud!"

Former England coach David Lloyd:external-link "Lots of criticism for England, rightly so., but come on, that was wonderful from Sangakkara and Thirimanne. A lesson."

The Sun's cricket correspondent John Etheridge:external-link "Eoin Morgan's answers at press conference suggest England are obsessed with stats, par totals etc. Toss the laptop in the bin, play with instinct."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

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