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Page last updated at 21:04 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 22:04 UK

Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

England's performances in the ICC World Twenty20 have been so good that the thumping semi-final win over Sri Lanka was merely a continuation of their past form and I would have been surprised if I had seen anything else.

They have been playing skilful, disciplined and confident cricket, and on Thursday in St Lucia produced the same performance they have produced against everyone else, with the possible exception of Ireland.

Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen
England cruised home with four overs remaining in St Lucia

England look a seriously good side, with very few weaknesses.

When you get on a roll it's easy to keep that roll going. Twenty20 cricket does not have the ebb and flow that Test cricket has, when you have to think a bit more on your feet.

As a captain, you are often not required to fiddle your bowlers around, everyone knows when they are bowling and it can be quite formulaic.

Having said that, Paul Collingwood is quite right to say everyone knows their roles in the side and they are certainly performing them as asked to.

There has not been one tactical change to the team throughout the week, which actually speaks volumes for the team selection in the first place.

Stuart Broad was bang on the money from the very first ball, with which he dismissed the tournament's outstanding batsman, Mahela Jayawardene.

He might be a bit disappointed not to bowl with the new ball any more, but his role is to get a wicket before the spinners Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy come on, and he did exactly that against Sri Lanka.

606: DEBATE
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Sometimes one forgets how young Broad is, but he has a lot of skills. I love his slow bouncer, and it's important to appreciate how hard a ball it is to bowl.

A bowler would get murdered if he simply ran up and bowled a slow, short ball. You have to disguise it so the batsman thinks it's a quick one, and bowl it hard into the pitch. Ryan Sidebottom also bowls the slow bouncer very well.

If there are any areas that England should reconsider, one would be the unnecessary way in which team-mates seem to fall out with each other on the field with everyone trying to be perfect. There is no need to victimise each other.

I would also like to see openers Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb go on a bit longer, or at least realise that if you have played one expansive, risky shot in an over you do not necessarily need to do it two or three times, and that you can still take sensible options.

The shot Lumb got out to was a bit silly. He he had just hit two fours in the over and did not need to expose his stumps in attempting a third.

There is a balance between absurdly giving your wicket away and falling in the team cause, and it is something Kieswetter and Lumb should think about.

Sanath Jayasuriya
International cricket may now bid farewell to Jayasuriya

One of the deficiencies with Twenty20 is that if you fail to start well you are in trouble.

Sri Lanka were at least 20 runs short of a bare minimum score and you cannot really recover from such a poor start. They did field badly, but they perhaps knew they were done for already.

In Angelo Mathews and Chamara Kapugedera Sri Lanka have two really good young cricketers. However I hope Sanath Jayasuriya falls on his sword and retires now.

He is nearly 40 and has been a terrific servant of Sri Lankan cricket, has done really well and has transformed the way batsmen approach one-day cricket. But all great careers come to an end, and he has had a poor tournament in the Caribbean.

England take on either Australia or Pakistan in the final and although it is dangerous to make assumptions I will be astonished if it's not Australia, who have produced some very strong performances while Pakistan have sneaked in through the back door.

If it is Australia they are facing, England will need to be wary of David Warner and his ability to get after the bowlers. If Warner is still in when Swann and Yardy come on to bowl he will certainly aim to attack them.

In fact, whoever England's spinners bowl to I cannot imagine Australia's batsmen will let them dictate terms the way they have against other teams.

Let's hope it's a terrific final.

Jonathan Agnew was talking to BBC Sport's Oliver Brett.



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see also
Classy England cruise into final
13 May 10 |  England
Collingwood wants Australia final
13 May 10 |  England
England v Sri Lanka photos
13 May 10 |  Cricket
England v Sri Lanka as it happened
13 May 10 |  Cricket
Aussies stun Pakistan in thriller
14 May 10 |  Cricket
England defeat Kiwis to top group
10 May 10 |  England
Pietersen and wife have baby son
10 May 10 |  England
Sri Lanka to face England in semi
11 May 10 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2010
17 May 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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