British press hammer ‘spineless’ England play in Sri Lanka

LONDON, Dec 21, 2007 (AFP) – After a dismal performance at the crease on Thursday in Galle, Sri Lanka, where they were bowled out for just 81 in the final match in the three-Test series, England’s cricketers will not want to eye the British newspapers.

Described as “pathetic” and “spineless”, England were blasted in Friday morning’s editions with one commentator writing that “as someone once famously put it, England had only three problems: they could not bat, bowl or field”.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 213 and Chaminda Vaas ripped through the top order to leave England, trailing 0-1 in the series, in tatters after the rain-hit third day.

Left-armer Vaas followed his 90 in Sri Lanka’s 499 for eight declared with four wickets as England collapsed in just 30.5 overs and were forced to follow-on 418 runs behind.

England’s total fell well below their previous innings low against Sri Lanka of 148 in Colombo on the previous tour in 2003.

The Times’s chief cricket correspondent wrote: “Even allowing, as one fairly must, for the excellence of Sri Lanka’s cricket … yesterday was a shameful performance by England.

“One by one, over the three matches of this short, intense and now one-sided series, the esta