Despite recapturing a degree of previous excellence in the Test arena in the recent thrashing of India, England's one-day international approach continues to look outdated after another poor showing in Cardiff on Wednesday.
With a top-order of accumulators—not powerful strikers—Alastair Cook's men fell woefully short of the 295-run target, dismissed for 161 to be dealt a crushing 133-run defeat in a match influenced by the Duckworth-Lewis method.
As seen in many of England's recent 50-over clashes against Australia, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, the team's batting approach in Wales again felt stuck in a past era; the side's methods and personnel reflective of an outfit still playing with mentality belonging to a different decade.
"England still treat ODIs as short Test matches; the rest of the world treats them as long T20 matches," Bleacher Report's Freddie Wilde explained.
A look at the composition of the team's top five reinforces that perception.
It must be acknowledged that the most powerful member of that group, Alex Hales, was on debut in Cardiff, meaning his strike rate isn't reflective of his ability after just one outing.
But even so, England are without an elite, rapid scorer (think Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell) among the established players of the team's top five.
Compare that with India.
In Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni's side has three players with strike rates hovering around 90.
Thus, there's an alarming firepower differential between India and England.
Yet, it's not just India who lead England in that regard.
Averaging the strike rates of the current top fives for each of cricket's major nations reveals just how sluggish the English top-order is in comparison with the world's leading teams.
Indeed, at 76.70, the quintet of Cook, Hales, Ian Bell, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan sit above only the top fives from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe for rate of scoring.
Even when outliers such as New Zealand's Corey Anderson (strike rate of 159.39) fall back into line, and when Hales' rate of scoring inevitably rises, England will still be some distance from the sides currently occupying the top spots of the ICC ODI Rankings.
Indeed, England's rate of scoring across the last 12 months in one-day games only serves to further highlight the team's lack of power at the top of the order.
Sitting above only Pakistan from the eight dominant countries, Cook's men have been almost one run per over off the mark set by Australia.
Those extra 50 runs per innings explain why Australia currently rule the No. 1 spot in the 50-over format, while England languish at No. 5.
Lacking the players capable of quickly shifting through the gears, it's also no surprise that England's performance in the Powerplays continues to be sub-standard.
Frustratingly, that's been a long-running theme.
|Event||Mandatory PP Run Rate||Batting PP Run Rate|
|2011 World Cup||5.20||6.11|
|2013 Champions Trophy||4.82||6.73|
|2nd ODI vs. India in 2014||5.30||6.31|
As the above table indicates, England have typically got off to moderate starts before striking trouble when trying to accelerate—the problem being that hardly devastating batting lineup.
Compare those numbers to India, who won both of the tournaments mentioned.
At the 2011 World Cup, India averaged 6.08 runs per over in the mandatory Powerplay, elevating that number to 7.69 in the batting Powerplay.
In England for the Champions Trophy last summer, those numbers for India sat at 5.31 and 7.97, respectively.
If England entertain any thoughts of seriously challenging for the World Cup crown in Australia and New Zealand next year, these issues—and the numbers stemming from them—must be addressed.