Morgan fifty lifts Lions
England Lions 140 for 4 (Morgan 50) v Australia A
Eoin Morgan made 50 batting at No. 3 for England Lions before three wickets in the evening session brought Australia A back into the match on a damp opening day of the first unofficial Test.
With a slow, turning pitch expected at Old Trafford - 34 wickets fell to spinners in Lancashire's Championship match against Worcestershire last month - the Lions included Samit Patel, James Tredwell and the local boy Simon Kerrigan, for his first Lions appearance, while Australia A picked only two quicks in their four-man attack.
Ravi Bopara, who missed England's second Test against South Africa for personal reasons, was not included for the Lions after deciding he was not ready for a return to cricket.
Morgan, captaining the side, elected to bat despite rainfall during the morning that delayed the start until 2.30pm. In testing conditions, the Lions openers, Joe Root and Nick Compton, scored seven runs from the first seven overs, before Mitchell Johnson had the former caught behind off the glove.
That brought in Morgan and he and Compton buckled down for a 79-run partnership. Nathan Lyon removed the Somerset batsman after a typically obdurate innings, his 46 coming off 137 balls, and it was Lyon's offspin that also accounted for Jonny Bairstow after another painstaking stay at the crease.
Morgan had already reached his fifty but Johnson struck in the next over, having the England batsman caught at mid-on, to leave the Lions 114 for 4. However, Patel was joined by Craig Kieswetter to shore up the innings and remain unbeaten the close.