INEXPERIENCED England failed to measure up in defence of their ICC World Twenty20 title - and, in the words of their captain Stuart Broad, were “not quite good enough” throughout.
England’s exit was confirmed last night when, despite a maiden Twenty20 international half-century from Samit Patel, they lost by 19 runs to Sri Lanka.
Two years after Paul Collingwood led his country to their first, and still only, International Cricket Council trophy - in this sprint format - Broad’s callow team must head home before the semi-final stage.
Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga undermined England’s chase of 169 for six, almost from the outset, with three wickets in his first over - on the way to career-best figures of five for 31 in the final Super Eight match at Pallekele.
Only victory would have taken England through to the knockout stages - and although Patel (67) and even Graeme Swann, with some late hitting, got them closer than had seemed likely, they never looked likely to prevail.
The relatively near miss was an appropriate, if frustrating, way for England’s unconvincing campaign to end.
“Ten minutes after the game, you’re obviously really disappointed,” said Broad.
“You can look at the missed opportunities. But I think throughout the whole tournament, we’ve not quite been good enough.”
England had to get by without the absent Kevin Pietersen - and although others hinted at potential, several appeared willing and able maybe but not yet ready to take on and beat the world.