England’s bowling attack has undergone an incredible transformation in the space of just over a week, having gone from letting the side down in the first T20 against Sri Lanka, to ripping the Lions apart on Wednesday afternoon.
Following his side’s 9-run defeat to the T20 world champions, England captain Eoin Morgan slammed his bowlers, whom he said had hindered them “for quite a while”. Those comments appear to have the desired effect of galvanising his troops, however, as they thumped Sri Lanka by ten wickets in a fleeting game that was almost over before it had begun.
Of course, the question must be raised of how much of Sri Lanka’s collapse – they amassed a grand total of 67 – was down to England, as the visitors admittedly did not put up much of a fight. Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring is far from an unexpected phenomenon, but on this occasion he scored 13. It was ultimately the side’s third lowest ever ODI score.
Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged either way that England’s bowlers have offered up a perfect response to their captain’s scathing remarks, regardless of whether they were meant as a rallying call or simply a cry of exasperation after a T20 in which Alex Hales had done so much with a solid knock of 66 off 41.
Chris Jordan continues to excite for England, and has now picked up two man of the match awards in three games against Sri Lanka. Although the Sussex bowler has featured for the national side in the past, ECB selectors must be looking at themselves and considering why he has not played a more prominent role. Former head coach Andy Flower may have been missing a trick there, and it is one that his successor Peter Moores seems eager to put right.
Despite his relative inexperience, Jordan seems completely unfazed at the occasion of playing for England, and although he is largely a one-day player, he will have right to feel aggrieved if he is overlooked for the two summer Test series against Sri Lanka and India.
It was James Anderson who initially got proceedings underway, dismissing openers Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan, before Jordan set about his work. The Lancashire star is finally looking back to his best after a difficult winter, while Ravi Bopara also weighed in with the wicket of Ashan Priyanjan.
Perhaps the most satisfying performance, bar Jordan’s, came from James Tredwell, who took another two wickets. However impressive Jordan and co. may be at the moment, there are always other alternatives, such as Jade Dernbech, who has openly stated that he is looking to get back into the England fold. Kent’s Tredwell, on the other hand, may be just the irreplaceable off-spinner that England have desperately been searching for.
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