England's Cricket World Cup defence is in tatters after Jos Buttler's men suffered a historic defeat against Sri Lanka that is being panned across the world. Despite winning the toss and batting first against Sri Lanka in a must-win game in Bengaluru, Buttler's men were bowled out for just 156, with their opponents completing an easy eight-wicket win with a staggering 146 balls to spare.
It was another meek and error-strewn performance from the reigning World Cup champions, who have now lost four of their five games by heavy margins - including defeats by New Zealand, Afghanistan, South Africa and now Sri Lanka. While England can still mathematically qualify for the semi-finals, they will almost certainly have to win all their remaining games and hope other fixtures go their way.
Considering England's poor form and the fact they still have to play undefeated tournament hosts India, it's as good as 'lights out' for Buttler and his men. To make matters worse for the defending champions, England now have the unwanted record of the lowest all-out total in the history of ODIs at the Bengaluru venue after another disastrous batting display.
The day started with the latest confusing selection from England, who dropped rising star Harry Brook and rookie seamer Gus Atkinson as they fielded a side comprised entirely of thirty-somethings for the first time ever in ODI cricket. Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow took 45 from the first 39 deliveries, but their bright start was shattered by the introduction of Sri Lankan veteran Angelo Mathews - playing in his fourth World Cup.
Mathews had not bowled in an ODI in more than three years and was only called into Sri Lanka's side days before the tournament as an injury replacement. He took just three deliveries to get back in the groove after having Malan caught behind for 28 chasing a cutter.
Some brilliant fielding from Mathews then saw Kusal Mendis obliterate the stumps as Joe Root dived in vain. England's errors kept coming, with Bairstow reaching 30 before a cross-batted swat at Kasun Rajitha plonked straight to mid-on. Lahiru Kumara had Buttler flashing to slip and Liam Livingstone lbw.
England cop it over 'shambolic' scenes
Stokes went on the attack, despite struggling for timing, but lost two more partners as Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes spoon-fed catches to backward point. When Stokes dragged a pull down deep-midwicket's throat, England's hopes died with his scrappy 43 as good as it got. England's insipid display was crucified on social media, with fans describing it as "dreadful", "shambolic" and an "absolute disaster".
England's capitulation at this World Cup has been dreadful.
How can we go from where we were, to this?
— Adam Reaney 🚴🏼♂️🏏💻 (@100percentapr) October 26, 2023
#CWC23 Impressively dreadful campaign from defending champions England.
Barely believable how bad it has gone, though it's not without precedence and there is logic to why this has been such a total failure.#ENGvSL
— Peter Wood (@gallowgate_pete) October 26, 2023
This england team is just embarrassing… this is what happens when you play No ODI cricket, drop your best players and expect to turn up and wing it. Zero aggression, zero intent and zero desire. They’ve given up, we have the viewers. #ENGvSL #ENG #SL #CricketWorldCup
— Tom (@HedgeFundFun) October 26, 2023
Embarrassing from England again. I wasn't expecting to win the tournament, but I at least expected us to defend the trophy with a bit of pride, this has been an absolute disaster though
— FPL Shake n Bake (Brett) (@FplShakenbake) October 26, 2023
Stokes gone, that was coming. Embarrassing doesn't even come close for this performance from England. Really, really bad.#ENGvSL
— Galow (@harrygalow) October 26, 2023
WTF is going on England 🏏. Shambolic yet again 🤬
— WiseCabby (@WiseyCabby) October 26, 2023
This England Cricket team is the worst defending WC Champions I've ever seen.
What shambolic performances are these ??!!! 😂😂😂
— Mihir (@AFCmihir) October 26, 2023
England gutted after 'huge low point'
"It looks like it could need a few miracles - that we'd have to win every game and things go our way to progress further in this tournament," a gloomy Buttler said after the match. "To be sat here now with the three weeks we've had is a shock. It's a shock to everyone.
"I'll walk back in the dressing room after this, look at the players and think 'how have we found ourselves in this position with the talent and the skill that's in the room?'. But it's the reality of what's happened over the last three weeks and that's a huge low point."
England's record-low showing in Bengaluru was never likely to be enough to stop Sri Lanka and so it proved as Pathum Nissanka (77 not out) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (65no) peeled off an effortless century stand in response. In all England used just 33.2 overs in the first innings and 25.4 in the second, a damning indictment on all fronts.
David Willey, who hit England's only six of the innings, also started promisingly with the ball, removing Kusal Perera and the dangerous Mendis, before Samarawickrama and Nissanka knocked off the runs in a composed manner. Nissanka belted the expensive Adil Rashid for a huge six over long-on to seal the victory in style, leaving Sri Lanka in fifth place behind Australia and England second from bottom in the group standings.
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