Stand-in captain Eoin Morgan was left to bemoan an "abysmal" batting display after England were bowled out for just 99 in a heavy defeat to Sri Lanka.
The tourists levelled the five-match one-day international series at 1-1 after taking a 157-run victory at Emirates Durham ICG.
Morgan took charge after Alastair Cook pulled out on Sunday morning with a groin strain and top-scored for the hosts with 40. Ian Bell was the only other England batsman to get into double figures.
"(It was) Abysmal really," Morgan told Sky Sports of the batting display after England were bowled out in 26.1 overs.
"We lacked partnerships throughout the whole innings and never really got anything going which was really disappointing given we restricted them to about a par score.
"I can't explain it. We spoke about getting that partnership of substance that would take us over the line but it wasn't there."
England were set a target of 257 for victory but their chase unravelled inside their first seven overs as they were reduced to 29-4. Morgan says the team knew how important it would be to get through the opening stages unscathed.
"That's always talked about, especially with two new balls early in the innings," he added.
"But we lost wickets continuously throughout the whole innings and under-performed massively. We've been outplayed here today and again in conditions we normally thrive on, we've played poorly."
As well as the poor batting England were also lacklustre in the field and Morgan was baffled by the dropped catches.
He said: "Again, I can't explain it. We train hard and we don't drop many in practice, if any. But coming to the game we dropped a couple today and we need squeeze them out of our repertoire."
One of the only positives Morgan's side could take from the defeat was a landmark wicket for Jimmy Anderson, who claimed his 250th scalp in one-day international cricket.
"Jimmy's been around for a very long time now and has been a true performer at the highest for a good stretch now," Morgan said.
"He's the leader of the attack and good to have around the dressing room."