New Zealand match now 'basically a quarter-final', says Alastair Cook

There is no room for schadenfreude now.

If England's fans have spent the past few days cackling at Australia's misfortunes in the build-up to the Ashes, the sharp shock of a seven-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka will have snapped them out of it. If England lose to New Zealand in Cardiff on Sunday, they will be out of a tournament they entered as favourites and which they have always insisted is as big a priority for them as anything else on their schedule this summer.

Alastair Cook, keen as ever to pick the positives out of a defeat, singled out Joe Root, who made 68, for particular praise. "It has been an interesting couple of days for him," the captain said. "He has probably never been the subject of something like this before. The way he handled himself throughout shows he is made of the right stuff."

Cook was quick to insist that he "wasn't too disappointed" with the result, rightly pointing out that Kumar Sangakkara's superb 134 was the difference between the sides. "That was an outstanding century," he said. "Sometimes, when you come up short against a guy who plays as well as that, you don't feel so bad. He didn't give us a chance."

England's score of 293 for seven, as Cook said, "looked about par". But Sangakkara led Sri Lanka past it with almost embarrassing ease. He and Nuwan Kulasekara, who was promoted from No8 to No5, put on 110 from 71 deliveries. There were still 17 balls to spare at the end, by which time a lot of the home fans, too disgruntled to linger, had already left. "The next match is basically a quarter-final isn't it?" Cook said. "We've got to win three games to win the Champions Trophy." Which makes it all sound so simple.

Powered by article was written by Andy Bull at The Oval, for The Guardian on Thursday 13th June 2013 23.09 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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