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Cricket: Eoin Morgan admits this was as bad as it gets

By David Clough

England's "terrible" batting performance was as bad as they can possibly produce, stand-in captain Eoin Morgan concluded after their near record 157-run defeat by Sri Lanka.

Morgan was satisfied with a target of 256 for eight at Chester-le-Street, where England were hoping to go 2-0 up in the Royal London one-day international series.

Instead, they collapsed to 99 all out – their lowest ODI total in this country since 2001 – en route to their biggest ODI defeat on home soil.

Morgan's 40 was one of only two double-figure scores as England were bowled out in 26.1 overs.

"Today, throughout our batting display, it was just terrible," said Morgan, who agreed England are probably incapable of playing any worse.

"I think so. It's as badly as we can bat anyway.

"It was one of the worst performances I've been a part of, in an England shirt.

"I can't explain why we played that badly."

Sri Lanka beat England at their own game, Tillakaratne Dilshan (88) and then Ashan Priyanjan eking out a near par score in conditions favouring the bowlers, and Nuwan Kulasekara produced a spell of three wickets for one run and Sachithra Senanayake (four for 13) cashed in with new career-best figures.

England were initially optimistic they could chase the target.

"It was a little bit tacky, and nipped around a small bit - but we're good enough to negotiate that," added Morgan.

"It's a pitch we would have turned up at and said 'Yes, perfect, we'd love to play' – especially against a side like Sri Lanka.

"We were happy with the score they got. But we've been outplayed."

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