England Lions v Sri Lankans, Derby, 1st day

Calm Morgan returns in style

Andrew McGlashan at Derby

May 19, 2011

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Eoin Morgan found form in his first first-class outing of the year, England Lions v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Derby, May 19 2011
Eoin Morgan proved that hours in the middle is not the only way to find form as he returned to action with an unbeaten century © Getty Images
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Eoin Morgan has never been one to go by convention, especially with a bat in his hand, and once again showed that there is more than one way to be ready for first-class cricket. An innings of 156 off 177 balls would be impressive by someone in the middle of a golden run of form after hours in the middle, never mind a batsman coming off six weeks of stop-start Twenty20 cricket.

In one, still unfinished, innings for England Lions against the Sri Lankans he scored more runs than he managed in nine knocks (137) for Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL. If all the talk is right then he hasn't got much chance of making the Test squad when it is announced on Sunday, but he gave another persuasive display of his unique ability.

By the end of the day he was dispatching deliveries to the boundary with more freedom that he often managed during the IPL where, apart from one innings of 66, he struggled to make an impact. Morgan has shown before the ability to come in from the cold and score immediate runs when he was drafted into the World Cup and scored a half-century against Bangladesh, having not picked up a bat for six weeks due to a broken finger.

"I've only practised a couple of days since I got back, but it's been really solid and today to get some time in the middle has been really good," he said. "I'm quite fresh so feel quite comfortable at the crease."

He also keeps the game very simple when it comes to switching from the longest format and believes his IPL stint was a huge benefit for him. "I don't think it's a big challenge, you play every ball as you see it," he said. "The experience in the IPL has been invaluable, playing under a lot of pressure and in high-pressure situations. I think I learnt a lot out there by brushing shoulders with legends of the game."

He had a captive audience, too, at Derby including national selector Geoff Miller and England coach Andy Flower but Morgan wasn't getting bogged down over what will happen at the weekend. "The selectors were here today and they'll pick the team, I've no idea what will happen," he said.

Another player straight back from the IPL is Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lanka captain, and he had plenty of time to assess Morgan at first hand. "He was pretty attacking right from the start and it paid off. Even though there was some grass on the surface I don't think we did the basics as well as we can."

Stuart Law, Sri Lanka's interim coach, has few concerns about Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene adjusting in time for the first Test at Cardiff but Sangakkara knows there are an important few days ahead. "It's going to be a challenge but something I'll enjoy," he said. "It's about getting used to the tracks and making a few adjustments, both mentally and technically, then getting on with the job."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 20, 2011, 16:50 GMT)

@Ravi_bopara and @shalikadog - the same could be said for Ireland..... How many foriengers are in their teams? And if you were Morgan, would you really feel your career was fulfilled playing for Ireland against the associates, or England against India, Australia, south Africa, etc. What's done is done, best just to get over it and enjoy the cricket.......

Posted by bigwonder on (May 20, 2011, 13:56 GMT)

Well said Morgan "The experience in the IPL has been invaluable, playing under a lot of pressure and in high-pressure situations. I think I learnt a lot out there by brushing shoulders with legends of the game." I think it sums up the value IPL offers to foreign players - on top of money.

Posted by Shalikadg on (May 20, 2011, 13:32 GMT)

it is a shame that england couldn't find good players from their country.

Posted by voma on (May 20, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

I like Ravi bopara , but he has had a decent run in the England team , in tests and odi s , i just dont think he has it at the highest level of the game . Its definetly time for Eoin morgan to be given a chance , especially against Sri Lanka . Who clearly have no fast bowling threat ! , dont get me wrong ravi is a player to keep on board . Good luck to both of them

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (May 20, 2011, 9:15 GMT)

@kriskingle; I agree with you about Morgans blast factor. I think he will replace Pietersen actually. Bopara will take Collys place though.... I think!

Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (May 20, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Ravi Bopara is a decent player who can be handy in the ODIs, who is yet to play a match winning/defining innings. He might be a contender for a test place in the future but even then definitely not at Morgan's expense. He'd have to show something special to raise hopes of challenging Morgan who is the most gifted player of the decade. England needs Morgan's stability lower down the order. Not worthless performances with both bat and ball ala Bopara.

Posted by Ryanair on (May 20, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

England are idiots if they don't pick Morgan. He offers something unique and solid in the middle order. Bopara's too hit and miss, you never know what he's going to do!

Posted by RAVI_BOPARA on (May 20, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

@ Notredam - ISNT IT LOVELY HOW IRISH PLAYERS LOVE TO PLAY FOR ENGLAND (MORGAN & JOYCE).

Posted by   on (May 20, 2011, 8:04 GMT)

also remember that this innings is not over yet, he may carry on today and pile a few more runs on that will further his chances again. Also, who actually said bopara is the front runner? it keeps being mentioned but seeing as morgan was the most recent back up batsman it is also logical that morgan walks straight into the test XI, look at the ODI career, morgan is far superior to bopara. Also who is counting out james Taylor , he made 76 and averages 50 in list A and first class (higher even then Cook, trott, pieterson, bell etc) and is only 21 years old. Those are the big 3 for me. I'd have morgan in for now, and then the next opportunity that arises id include taylor. Ravi is a flat track bully and a bully of west indies only , where all his 3 tons are playing windies, he comes undone against any quality bowlers. This is a tough pick for selectors, also samit patel must come into the frame too as he got a ton, avg's 41 in county cricket and bowls good spin

Posted by Notredam on (May 20, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

Irish players rule the roast..Trent johnston...Ander botha,,Dockrell..Rankin,,morgin,,joyce,,,can walk in any side..with full pride..

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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