Good morning. Tense, nervous headache? Me neither. But trust me, it’s in the post, and I’m not talking about tomorrow’s hangover. For England fans the World Cup is about to get very serious, so today’s match against Sri Lanka at Headingley is the last that can be watched in the reclining position.
Before you start, this isn’t to say England are guaranteed to win today. They should, but they might not. All of that is what the point is not. The point is that whether they win, lose or tie, the remaining matches will have a nervous edge to them even before a ball is bowled.
After this, England play Australia (Tuesday), India (a week Sunday) and New Zealand (a week Wednesday), all games which could be dress rehearsals for a semi-final or even – yikes – a final. It could be the time of our lives; it will almost certainly render us an incoherent mess.
If England lose today, those matches will take on a different, more desperate context. But it shouldn’t come to that. Sri Lanka are sixth in the table, ahead of West Indies, South Africa and Pakistan, though that owes as much to washouts as their own performances. Thus far, the highlight of their campaign has probably been a complaint about a swimming pool.
The match is scheduled to start at 10.30am local time, and should actually do so: the weather forecast is fine.