Sri Lanka, led by veteran Lasith Malinga, produced a stunning comeback with the ball as England failed to chase down 233 at Headingley. Trevor Bayliss’ men have now lost twice in the tournament and with Australia, India and New Zealand as their remaining opponents, could suddenly find it tough to qualify for the semis. Here are our talking points from the game.
Sri Lanka victory keeps the tournament alive
An England win here would’ve all but decided the identity of the semi-finalists, with India also expected to see off Afghanistan tomorrow.
Instead Sri Lanka’s victory has kept the tournament alive for the likes of Bangladesh, West Indies and even South Africa. England now have eight points from six games and may need to win one, if not two of their remaining three games against Australia, England and NZ to qualify for the last four- not so straightforward given the form the trio have been in.
The Root review that kept Sri Lanka in the game
Yesterday, South Africa failed to notice a clear nick from Kane Williamson at a crucial period during the Kiwi chase.. Today Joe Root edged a delivery going down leg from Malinga to the keeper. The umpire didn’t give it out, but Sri Lanka went for the review, and got their man. Root was as important to the English cause as Williamson was to New Zealand’s yesterday, and his dismissal gave Sri Lanka renewed belief.
Malinga and Matthews pull it off for Sri Lanka
The two veterans played major roles in this stunning victory. Matthews was slow with the bat, but his 85 gave the Lankans something to bowl at, and Malinga was simply superb with the ball, picking up the wickets of Bairstow, Vince, Root and Buttler to keep the visitors’ hopes alive. He would’ve even had Stokes and a deserved 5fer at the end, but for Kusal Mendis spilling a chance in the deep.
Do England crumble under scoreboard pressure?
Both of England’s losses in this tournament- previously against Pakistan and here against Sri Lanka, came while chasing. They do bat deep, but such factors can be rendered irrelevant in the face of scoreboard pressure, as it did today. They also lost to Australia in the warm-ups while chasing.
This was very winnable for England, but their lower order- Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer in particular, threw their wickets away when all they needed was to stay with Ben Stokes.
A proper choke one has to stay- one the Proteas would’ve been proud of!
Stokes nearly pulls it off for England
From 186/9, Ben Stokes nearly pulled off a great escape for England. He only dealt in boundaries and sixes, left only a single delivery for No.11 Mark Wood to play every over, and single-handedly took England from 186/9 to 212. However Wood was unable to survive the final ball of Nuwan Pradeep’s spell, and edged one to the keeper as Stokes’ fine 82 went in vain.
If he had some support from the lower order, Stokes, one reckons, would’ve taken England home. Ali and Archer’s shots, as mentioned above, were the most disappointing, while Rashid and Woakes both fell in almost identical fashion to part time spinner Dhananjaya de Silva.