England stand-in captain Eoin Morgan pulled no punches in his review of his side’s 157-run defeat by Sri Lanka in the second Royal London one-day international at Chester-le-Street.
The batsman, who top scored with 40 in England’s total of 99 chasing Sri Lanka’s 256, described it as “abysmal”, “sloppy” and “disappointing”.
Morgan took charge after Alastair Cook pulled out on Sunday morning with a groin strain.
“It was abysmal, really,” Morgan said.
“I cannot explain it. We lost wickets continuously throughout the whole innings and underperformed massively.
“We have been outplayed here today in conditions we normally thrive in. We have played poorly. It’s very disappointing and we were a little bit sloppy in the field.”
England put two routine catches down and Ian Bell also admitted the team was poor in the field.
“No excuses at all,” Bell said. “There’s no excuses from us. We have got to find some answers for the next game at Old Trafford. We are just really disappointed. It was not a 99 all-out wicket.”
With the five-match series at 1-1, the teams next meet in Manchester on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said: “It was a pleasing performance by the whole team. All in all it was a great effort.”
England, who did almost everything right in an 81-run win at The Oval three days ago, this time did many things wrong - especially in a hapless pursuit of 256 for eight which ultimately mustered 99 all out in 26.1 overs, their fifth-lowest ODI total.
Nuwan Kulasekara (three for 15) did the initial damage, in a spell of three wickets for one run as England lost four for 10 - and at no subsequent stage, despite an attempted rearguard from Morgan, did they threaten a passable recovery.
It seemed Morgan had won an important toss which allowed him to put Sri Lanka in on a pitch offering all bowlers sideways movement under cloud cover.
But once England began to bat, it became increasingly clear that the efforts of top-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan (88) and latterly Ashan Priyanjan were more significant than had first appeared.
Kulasekara had Michael Carberry pushing forward and edging behind, before Bell was also caught by the wicketkeeper off a faulty cut and then Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance was lbw on the front-foot defence to a delivery which shaped back into him.
In between, Lasith Malinga made short work of Ballance’s Tykes team-mate Joe Root, who lost his off stump.
Ravi Bopara was then bowled by an off-break from Sachithra Senanayake, who was soon bamboozling Chris Jordan to have him lbw on the back foot, and Jos Buttler appeared to confuse himself as he bunted a simple catch to mid off in captain Angelo Mathews’ solitary over.
But Morgan’s score was one of only two double-figure scores, as England’s run of four consecutive ODI victories came to an abrupt end.