(Reuters) – England remain favourites to win the Cricket World Cup despite the hosts’ surprising 20-run loss to Sri Lanka, Australia coach Justin Langer has said.
Pre-tournament favourites England slumped to their second defeat of the tournament at Headingley on Friday, falling short of the 233 needed for victory on a slow track.
Eoin Morgan’s side have slipped to fourth in the standings behind New Zealand, Australia and India with three matches to play before the semi-finals.
However, Langer said England were still the team to beat ahead of the crunch match against Aaron Finch’s men at Lord’s on Tuesday.
“See how they’ve played for four years, they’re the best team in the world,” Langer told reporters.
“Look at their team … Nothing has changed in a week.”
Australia, with reinstated opener David Warner in sparkling form, have won five of their six matches, losing only to India, and head into the England clash with confidence.
Langer said Australia, who beat Bangladesh in their last start, had yet to deliver a complete performance.
“We’ve played some really good games in this tournament without playing our best game still,” he said.
“We’ve got Davey (Warner) and Aaron Finch making big hundreds up front – exactly what England have been doing for the last few years.
“We’ve got guys in the middle who are doing well, we’ve got adaptability in our team which I keep saying is a strength not a weakness.
“It’s not just (about) what’s clicked the last few games, it’s been what’s clicked for the last few months and that’s exciting for us.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)