Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sad England Head for a Whitewash

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sad England Head for a Whitewash

Article excerpt


LIFE was going from bad to worse for England's batsmen here today as their attempt to prevent a Sri Lankan oneday international clean sweep hit trouble from the start.

Bogged down initially, they then lost four wickets in the space of seven overs to crumple to 39 for four.

Less than two weeks ago, the Sing-halese Sports Club witnessed England's thrilling and series-clinching victory in the Third Test. Since then, though, they have been blown away in two limitedovers internationals and, today, were threatening to end their tour with another heavy defeat.

Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick and the recalled Nick Knight all played on as Sri Lanka's new-ball attack exploited a bit of variable bounce.

Then, worst of all, captain Graham Thorpe fell for a duck - cutting his first delivery toward backward point where Kumar Sangakkara took a wonderful catch.

Andrew Flintoff and Graeme Hick led a brief recovery but, with the score on 88 in the 30th over, England lost their fifth wicket, Flintoff skying a catch to Kumar Dharmasena off the bowling of Thilan Samaraweera.

England had restored all-rounder Mark Ealham to their side while leaving out both Michael Vaughan and Andrew Cad-dick but it was Craig White who arrived at the crease next to partner Hick.

Sri Lanka's decision to bowl in high humidity looked a good one as Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa made the new ball dart around and, at times, lift alarmingly. It was more like the start to a Test than a one-dayer with Trescothick and Stewart happy to survive three overs.

Even the first run, off the 19th delivery, was a risky single with Stewart struggling to make his ground.

Zoysa offered a little more scope than his fellow left-armer but should have struck the opening blow.

Stewart had just pulled and then cut boundaries when Trescothick dabbed the simplest of slip catches to Mahela Jayawardene. It would stick 19 times out of 20 but, today, the fielder barely slowed the ball's route to the boundary as he snatched at the chance. …

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