England won the fourth ODI of the five-match series against Sri Lanka to take an unassailable 3-0 lead, but according to captain Eoin Morgan, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
A quick glance at the scorecards will suggest that England have been dominant throughout the series, winning all games rather convincingly after the series-opener was washed out, but Morgan isn’t entirely satisfied.
In the fourth ODI, in Kandy, Sri Lanka were kept down to 273-7 in response to which England got to 132-2 when the rain stopped play. By that point, England were ahead by 18 runs of DLS par score. Morgan himself scored a fluent unbeaten 31 to be named Player of the Match, while Joe Root made an unbeaten 32.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) October 20, 2018
Morgan felt that his side had the best use of conditions and should have done a better job containing Sri Lanka’s lower order after having reduced them to 102-4. A half-century from Dasun Shanaka, along with sizeable contributions from Thisara Perera and Akila Dananjaya, propped the home team up to a respectable score.
“I thought today was quite a scrappy game, to be honest,” said Morgan. “We had the better of the conditions having won the toss and bowled and I felt the wicket was a bit tacky and turned a little more than it probably did when we batted. But we felt that Sri Lanka crept up to a very competitive score. Credit to Sri Lanka, they fought back well.”
Morgan suggested that his team were not up to standard in the field and the bowlers should have done a better job.
“We are quite honest with where we’re at and where we need to improve. Today it was fielding, we were quite rusty, and we maybe could have been more disciplined in the areas that we bowled.”
The series in the kitty, England have an opportunity to field some other combinations for the final ODI in Colombo on October 23 – Joe Denly, Sam Curran, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett are yet to get a game.
“Just because we’ve won the series doesn’t mean that we don’t want to win the next game,” Morgan added. “It’s an important game but also may be an opportunity to look at some other guys as well.”
As for Sri Lanka, they looked competitive in patches and were it not for some basic errors, they could have come out on the better side of the result. The first blunder was Shanaka’s run out for 66, which hampered Sri Lanka’s ability to take full toll in the death overs. The middle-order batsman accepted the responsibility for it.
“There was no run there,” Shanaka said of his dismissal. “I came out too far. Normally I have this habit of coming down the wicket about two feet whenever a shot is played. It’s a fault that I have that I need to rectify – it’s not Thisara’s fault.
“When I went in we were 102-4, and I played my normal game without any pressure although we had lost wickets. If I had continued batting longer we could have got a result in our favour. If I had stayed with Thisara for the 50 overs, we could have got around 290-300.”
The second big error that cost Sri Lanka was that they had too many men outside the inner ring on one occasion, resulting in a no-ball being called when Root was caught at short fine-leg for 22.
“If we had not made a mistake of having five fielders outside the circle and got Root’s wicket it would have been a close game,” accepted Shanaka. “We could have built on the pressure from there and forced another mistake.”