England Lose Again to Sri Lanka at Cricket World Cup

England's captain Jos Butler reacts after losing to Sri Lanka by eight wickets during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match in Bengaluru, India, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Defending champion England endured yet another abject loss at the Cricket World Cup as an eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka on Thursday left their hopes of advancing hanging by a slim thread.

England crashed to 156 all out after opting to bat — their lowest World Cup total since 2003, and the lowest ODI score ever recorded at the batting-friendly M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Sri Lanka pacer Lahiru Kumara led the rout and took 3-35 in seven overs. Ben Stokes was the top scorer for England with 43 runs.

Sri Lanka then coasted to victory with 24.2 overs to spare, finishing with 160-2. Pathum Nissanka (77 not out) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (65 not out) scored attacking half-centuries.

It was Sri Lanka’s fifth consecutive victory over England in World Cups.

England have just one win — against Bangladesh — from their opening five games at the tournament following heavy losses to New Zealand and South Africa and an upset defeat to Afghanistan.


Its third successive loss means England have made the worst start of any defending champions since the 1999 World Cup. Back then, Sri Lanka lost three out of five games and failed to qualify for the Super Six stage and the eventual knockouts.

England’s chances of making the semifinals also took a big blow as they are ninth with two points, only above the Netherlands on account of net run-rate.

Sri Lanka climbed to sixth with four points.

England got off to a decent start as Jonny Bairstow (30) and Dawid Malan (28) added 45 runs off 39 balls for the first wicket. But Angelo Mathews, playing his first game of the tournament, had Malan caught behind in the seventh over. And two overs later, Joe Root was run out for three.

The collapse began in the 14th over when Bairstow was caught at mid-on off Kasun Rajitha (2-36). Skipper Jos Buttler’s torrid run with the bat continued as he was caught behind off Kumara in the next over.

Liam Livingstone wanted to hit his way out of trouble but was out lbw for one as England sunk to 85-5 in 17 overs.

Stokes put on 37 runs off 46 balls with Moeen Ali (15) before Mathews got a second wicket as Ali was caught behind after England managed to cross the 100 mark. The veteran all-rounder finished with 2-14 in five overs.

It ushered in a fresh collapse as the defending champions lost the last five wickets for 34 runs across 70 deliveries.

Stokes was the eighth man out, holing to the deep off Kumara, as none of the English tail-enders contributed a decent score.

In reply, Sri Lanka faltered at the start as David Willey struck twice to remove Kusal Perera (4) and Kusal Mendis (11) early on. But Nissanka and Samarawickrama then bedded in for their unbeaten partnership.

Nissanka hit seven fours and two sixes, as he brought up 50 off 54 balls. His partner was more aggressive — reaching 50 off 44 balls with four fours and a six.

Overall they added 137 runs off 122 balls for the third wicket, as England suffered a third consecutive loss in a World Cup for the first time since 1996.

Sri Lanka’s five-wicket win over the Netherlands last weekend was their first victory at the tournament.

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