Stand-in England captain believes team has the skill level to bounce back in familiar conditions
Eoin Morgan, the stand-in England captain, criticised his team's abject surrender to Sri Lanka in the second ODI, which it lost by 157 runs in Durham, on Sunday (26 May).
After restricting Sri Lanka to 256 for 8, England was skittled out for just 99, with Nuwan Kulasekara, the swing bowler, claiming three wickets, while Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, returned figures of 4 for 13.
“Our bowlers did a pretty good job of reducing them to a score that, if anything, was only a little above par,” said Morgan, who stood-in for the injured Alastair Cook. “The guys showed enough control to contain Sri Lanka in the first 10 or 15 overs and the game never really got away from us. The batting performance was terrible. It is inexcusable and unexplainable to be bowled out for less than a hundred on a wicket like that.”
Morgan felt losing a bunch of wickets upfront cost England the game, but said it was all the more disappointing to finish on the wrong side of the result despite being blessed with adequate skill sets to counter Sri Lanka's threat.
“It was always going to be hard to come back from 29 for four and we were always chasing that partnership," Morgan observed. "These are conditions that we are used to. And we have the skill level to contend with those guys in conditions like that. So it’s a day to forget."
Kulasekara, who nipped out England's top three inside six overs, came in for special praise. “He hit his length really well and asked a lot of questions but I think we are good enough to negotiate that,” said Morgan. “We have played against him a lot in the past and had success. I remember even when he was the world’s number-one ranked bowler we did well.”
With Sri Lanka bouncing back in style to level the series at 1-1, Morgan felt the remainder of the series would be no walk in the park for England. “It’s a huge contrast,” admitted Morgan. “Sri Lanka have come back with a high skill level and a bit of fight so it should be a good game in Manchester.”