Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Hit Lowest Point with Latest Loss

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Hit Lowest Point with Latest Loss

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID LLOYD

MAKE that 11. Stumbling, staggering England stretched their sequence without success by another match here today, losing easily enough to a team that just might be worthy of the title Australia C.

Being beaten by New South Wales last Friday was entirely predictable, and falling short of a modest Australia A total 48 hours later had barely registered a flicker on the shockometer.

But even the most pessimistic follower of English cricket thought a squad that later this week must play their World Cup-winning hosts in the opening triangular tournament fixture might be able to pip the Prime Minister's XI.

Instead, they were dismissed for only 152 in a contest cut by morning rain to 42 overs per side. Then, despite three early strikes by James Kirtley, they lost by four wickets with 62 balls to spare.

Mark Waugh, the now former international, supplied 42 silky runs, after talented all-rounder Lee Carseldine underpinned the home reply with 46 on an always difficult pitch.

But it was England's batting that really stood out - for its lack of intelligence.

True, they were without Nasser Hussain, Ronnie Irani and Alec Stewart today.

Even so, it should not have needed a half-century partnership from Academy youngsters Gareth Batty and Chris Read to prevent a total collapse.

This fixture is the most social on any tour Down Under. But unless England can put a hard edge on their cricket, they will be blown away by Sri Lanka, never mind Australia.

The decision to bat first, when play began almost two hours late, may have been influenced by an understandable desire to avoid injuries on a still damp outfield.

In the event, the only slipping and sliding came from the top order as the PM's pacemen were helped by both the pitch and some pretty abject shot-making.

Nick Knight's lukewarm start to the one-day programme continued when he tried to work Paul Rofe to the legside and was bowled off an inside edge. …

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