Cricket Expert & Columnist
Eng v SL T20: England must be more bold to mix it with best T20 sides
'Gamble occasionally with the batting and move everyone up a couple of places...'
Last Updated: 21/05/14 9:58am
Opener Alex Hales led the way with 66 off 41 balls but England's attempt to chase down the visitors' 183-7 came up short despite late flurries from Jos Buttler (26 off 16) and Ravi Bopara (28no off 15).
In the last year England have won just three of their 15 T20 internationals and have lost 11, including their last three.
Former captain Hussain paid tribute to a "genius" performance from Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga, who took 3-28, but said the selectors must consider revamping England's line-up to maximise the talent in the squad.
"Malinga has not just done it against England, he's done it against virtually everyone in the world - he did it in the World Twenty20 final against India, against some brilliant hitters," reflected Hussain.
"We had a good Tweet in that said 'England bat as if they are batting 21 overs'. How many times have we seen Bopara, Morgan or Buttler come in at the end with seven overs to go?
"Why not occasionally just gamble and move everyone up a couple of places. Ian Bell is playing at the age of 33 - there must be a younger player out there in county cricket, James Vince or James Taylor, who can come in and do that role? So England have still got some questions to answer."
Left-arm seamer Harry Gurney took two wickets on his T20 England debut, but Thisara Perera, who was dropped on seven by Michael Carberry, went on to smash 49 off 20 balls.
The chance was one of three to go down in the innings and after the match Eoin Morgan, standing in as skipper for the injured Stuart Broad, criticised England's poor fielding.
Hussain said that while aspects of the home side's display were impressive, they must address their frailties in the field.
"You can't afford to drop someone like Perera in the last three or four overs because he will just wallop you everywhere," he said.
"England didn't bowl particularly well at him. England did get a lot of things right. Chris Jordan's penultimate over was brilliant but then he got whacked by Perera.
"Gurney's death-bowling - and bowling at the start was brilliant - but there is still a massive issue with catching. They keep dropping catches."
The teams return to the Oval on Thursday to contest the first match of a five-game ODI series.
Although the tourists will once again call on the services of experienced duo Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who have retired from T20 international cricket, Hussain feels that England should fare better under Alastair Cook's leadership in the 50-over game.
"England are ranked number four in one-day cricket so I think it is a better suit for them than Twenty20 cricket where they are ranked number eight," he said.
Watch the first ODI between England and Sri Lanka this Thursday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports 2.