Monday, April 19, 2021
HomeEoin Morgan hails bowling effort as England take 1-0 lead

Eoin Morgan hails bowling effort as England take 1-0 lead

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Eoin Morgan praised his bowlers for setting up England’s comprehensive victory in their T20I series opener by restricting India to a total that proved impossible to defend.

The pace trio of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Jordan made life difficult for India’s batsmen, who managed just 124 for 7 from their 20 overs – having been 22 for 3 after the Powerplay – despite a fighting 67 off 48 balls from Shreyas Iyer. Archer claimed 3 for 23 from his four overs, his best T20I figures.

Before the series, Chris Silverwood, England’s coach, had played down concerns about the quality of training facilities in Ahmedabad, saying they were “the same for both sides”. But speaking after England’s eight-wicket victory with 27 balls to spare, Morgan raised questions over the standard of the nets.

“The wicket was as expected. [It] was better than the net facilities that we’ve had here, so that was a huge positive for us,” Morgan said in the post-match presentation. “But the plans were very basic: hit a good length, straight, we didn’t have to go to plan B and C very often, which is always a good sign when the bowling unit does that.

“One of Jof’s strengths is that he can bowl really fast, amongst others, but Mark Wood’s super strength is that he can bowl fast. It’s hard to do the whole time but when he bowls like he did tonight it’s very good entertainment but also it’s great to have him in your side.

“Our bowling unit, similar to our batting unit, there’s a lot of competition for places. There’s guys on the sideline today that could easily have got a call in that XI – Reece Topley, Tom Curran – today, so we’re trying to cover all departments, particularly when we’re put under pressure or under the pump.

“Today the guys were so good that they almost didn’t allow that to happen. Throughout the series there will be continuous challenges and we will be up against it a lot of the time, so it’s important for those moments to produce your best.”

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler set off England’s pursuit well with a 72-run partnership. Roy top-scored for the visitors, one shy of his half-century, having come into the match without reaching 25 in his previous 10 international innings going back to February 2020 and amid talk of Alex Hales possibly returning to the England fold, at least in a training capacity to begin with, after a strong BBL season.

“There’s a huge amount of competition for places within the squad and even outside the squad,” Morgan said. “So it’s always nice, you know, there’s huge support in the changing room for anybody that scores runs and does well and when Jason scores runs and does well in the fashion that he plays, it really does gee the boys up.”

While it was pace and bounce that went a long way towards delivering England victory on Friday, Roy said he had been working hard on facing spin in the nets.

“[It was] better than a slap in the face. I’ll take 49 at the start of the day and I’ll take a comfortable victory like that as well,” Roy said. “For us to come out and bowl like we did and field like we did in our first game was incredible to see and will hold us in good stead for the rest of the series.

“I’ve done a lot of practice, especially against Adil Rashid in the nets. He’s helped me a lot to learn about my game, learn my strengths.”

Morgan also said there was no hangover among his side’s multi-format players following England’s tough 3-1 Test series defeat, which ended at the same venue less than a week ago.

“It’s a completely different format of the game and there’s a complete distinction between the formats as well,” Morgan said. “We’ve been on tours before where possibly the white-ball guys have played for us and we’ve not played well and it’s not lingered into the Test matches.

“Likewise, the other way around, and particularly in big series, like the Ashes, for instance, we’ve come out of the back of it and learned from it and equally when we’ve won at home in the Tests we’ve used that as confidence coming into the white-ball series.”

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