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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 15:05 GMT
England caught off guard
Jonny Saunders
By Jonny Saunders
BBC Sport at Dambulla

After the clean sweep in Bangladesh, England were brought back down to earth spectacularly here in Sri Lanka.

It was hardly the Rumble in the Dambulla Jungle for which their fans were hoping.

Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff
Vaughan and Flintoff discuss what went wrong

But it must be remembered that England have taken a conscious decision to plan for the 2007 World Cup in their one-day international selections and they were expecting the odd hiccup early on against more experienced opponents.

This performance, however, was, on their own admission, sub-standard.

Only Paul Collingwood hung around with the bat and although the Sri Lankan bowling and fielding were excellent, several England batsmen will not want to look at replays of their dismissals.

Marcus Trescothick's leading edge to mid-on was particularly ugly, and Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Strauss on his debut and Rikki Clarke may not be too happy with the way they got out either.

The benefits of Sri Lanka's four-month break from international cricket were there for all to see - their fielding was sparkling and their bowling was full of verve and enthusiasm.

The Dambulla scorecard

Mahela Jayawardene's two catches in the slips were outstanding, while the two debutant seamers, Dinusha Fernando and Nuwan Kulasekera, acquitted themselves well, albeit in helpful conditions.

That will be a huge filip for Chaminda Vaas, who for so long has carried the Sri Lankan seam attack almost single-handedly and he will hope the two young men can continue to take wickets.

To be fair to England's bowlers they faced an almost impossible task in defending such a low total.

But they too will be concerned with the way the ball appeared to go at will to all parts of the ground from the bats of Sanath Jayasuirya and Romesh Kaluwitharana.

The worry for England now is that the manner of the drubbing will leave mental scars that may affect their performances in the both remaining one-day matches and the Test matches.

Although this is unlikely, Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher will be working hard to ensure morale is lifted and England put in a far more competitive performance in Colombo on Friday.





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