England's World Cup hero Ben Stokes has announced his shock retirement from one-day cricket, departing with a word of warning about the "unsustainable" schedule. Stokes' bloody-minded…
Sri Lanka need to learn from England’s demolition of Australia and adopt a strategy that is different, if they are to throw a spanner in the works and contain the frightening aspect of being batted out of the competition.
Australian reliance on proven pace was nullified to an embarrassing reality by the England batsmen, who smashed them to all parts of the ground in what was the ultimate difference between two of the heavyweights of the competition.
Jos Buttler proved to be the catalyst in the final outcome with a gem of an innings that ripped the heart out of the never-say-die Aussies.
But it really boiled down to solid technique and super analysis of the conditions and wickets that saw the English superstar use his experience to make the feared Australian attack look ordinary.
Only South Africa’s former hero AB de Villiers has shown the kind of confidence and disdain of opposition bowling attacks like Buttler did against Australia.
But Sri Lanka should have learned that pace against England’s top order would be futile on a slow and low track in Sharjah.
With two of the best spinners in their ranks, they should cramp the openers and look to take early wickets if they are to spring the surprise of the tournament.
England – on paper and with their performances so far – are firm favourites to win the World Cup apart from Pakistan, with sentimental favourites India and Australia now teetering on elimination from the semi-finals.
Mickey Arthur will find his coaching strategies under question as he guides one of the most inexperienced teams in this campaign.
But the South African coach has proved under duress by a country expecting overnight miracles that he is tracking well in resurrecting Sri Lanka’s climb on the world stage.