England v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, 1st semi-final, Cardiff June 14, 2017

Edgbaston to Cardiff too much of an ask to adjust to - Morgan


Play 01:51
'Don't think there was any home advantage' - Morgan

Eoin Morgan blamed a failure of the England batsmen to adapt to a Cardiff surface, which he said provided no home advantage, on being dumped out of the Champions Trophy by a rampant Pakistan.

England laboured to 211 all out in the face of another probing display from the Pakistan attack - this time missing the injured Mohammad Amir - before the target was knocked off with nearly 13 overs to spare. They had been handily placed on 128 for 2 in the 28th over when Joe Root fell to Shadab Khan, but the rest of the batting could barely hit the ball off the square.

England had played a group match on the ground against New Zealand. But this surface, being used for the second time in three days, was slower and lower, although England's more hit-the-deck seamers were easier to score off than the skiddy quicks of Pakistan, who also managed to find a hint of reverse swing.

"I don't think there was any home advantage," Morgan said. "We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament. Having watched the game against Sri Lanka, we actually didn't think it was that bad. But certainly today, coming from Edgbaston, it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce, and too much of an ask for us to adjust to, really.

"We left ourselves short adapting to conditions. It's a big frustration because I think we've played some great cricket in this tournament and we weren't anywhere close to it today. Credit to Pakistan, they played brilliantly."

Pakistan's captain Sarfraz Ahmed had a different view of the surface which they played on against Sri Lanka in a far more fraught run chase to earn the semi-final spot. "I think the pitch was very good. It was good for both teams. I think we played very well and that's why we won."

When Morgan was asked why Pakistan had found batting much easier during their chase, where they cantered along at nearly six an over, he said: "I think the explanation is they played two days ago on it."

England's struggle was highlighted by Ben Stokes' boundary-less 64-ball stay, but Morgan believed the batsmen had tried everything to put the pressure back on the bowlers.

"Every partnership we had struggled to take initiative to the Pakistan bowlers," he said. "I thought they bowled really well. They adjusted to conditions extremely well, and the wicket was obviously slow and low and hard to get away to start with. Every partnership we had started behind the rate, which put us under the pump a little bit, and none of our batsmen seemed to get away. I felt like we were trying to take a positive option against them, but the conditions didn't allow us to do that."

If, two years ago, in the aftermath of the woeful World Cup, a semi-final place in this tournament had been offered, it may have been accepted as a decent stepping stone in the rebuilding process. However, England's advancements have been so significant that it now has to class as a significant opportunity lost to add to a trophy cabinet, whose only ICC silverware is the 2010 World T20.

Morgan, though, remained confident that this defeat would not stunt the development of the one-day side ahead of the 2019 World Cup, which will also be held in England. The team's next ODI cricket will be a series against West Indies at the end of the season, which may see a few new faces blooded, before what could be a tough challenge against Australia after the Ashes.

"One of the huge contributing factors towards topping our table and playing very good cricket in the group stages is that we've stayed true to what we believe in and what's worked for us the last couple of years, and I think that's the continued formula for the future," Morgan said. "I think it will have to evolve in whatever manner the game does over the next two years in the lead-in to the World Cup, but certainly, I think we're moving in the right direction."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LevEverage on June 17, 2017, 9:50 GMT

    @Jahhhan - Pakistan unbeaten in test series in England for 40 years? What are you talking about? I found 14 years, but considering they played about one series every four years, it's not that big a winning streak!


  • Rowayton on June 16, 2017, 8:48 GMT

    Don't understand the complaint that the pitch had already been played on. Test pitches are usually at their best on day 2 or 3 i.e. when they have already been played on.

  • icem on June 16, 2017, 8:45 GMT

    A pretty terrible display and excuse, but I am a bit confused why an worn pitch was used and as I understand the same one that Pakistan had played on two days previously. England should have identified that this wasn't a 300+ wicket and batted appropriately. Once Pakistan got of to a decent start the game was over.

    But why insist on using a used wicket? There are only 15 games, so 5 per ground. Surely they could have used a different one for each game? Or why not use 4/5 grounds. Are the ICC trying to prove a point?

  •   Cricinfouser on June 16, 2017, 5:15 GMT

    These things happen.England is playing brilliantly nowadays.Pakistan is unpredictable because they have no system.So when everything comes together they win and when they fail,there is no system to mitigate the loss.

  • balajik2505 on June 16, 2017, 3:55 GMT

    Very poor from Morgan. To be called a champion team you have play the hand you get. If England can't adapt, they do not deserve to be called a class team. I thought England had progressed well in the last 2 years. Their limitations are now out in the open. England needs to work on this.

  •   Justwatchandshutup on June 16, 2017, 3:16 GMT

    I don't understand media, analysts, team management and team itself, you call them best in world for heavens sake look at the excuse skipper pushed forward. In an ICC organised event he is looking for home advantage and talking as if Cardiff is 10k miles away somewhere in the middle of desert, next you're telling this playing against a team who haven't played at home in 8 years. When a team boasts a bowler, Mark Wood in this case having bowling average of 40 in odis as their sharpest tool in the shed, can it be called the best team by any stretch of language? Next comes Jake ball. Even Woakes is having an average of 31.60 not very far from Wahab Riaz. I don't want to talk you through bowling capability of Sir Stokes plz help yourself. Moeen over 49 bowling average while Rashid still finding his way. When everyone yelps they playing Fearless cricket, they are clearly looking at their 300 plus scores on belters. Common sense suggests bowling is equally important part of cricket. Missed?

  • ttthetruth on June 15, 2017, 22:44 GMT

    You were supposed to win this Morgan. Playing against the No.8 ranked team, you should have won that even if you were to play in this match in Lahore or Karachi. I mean when Pakistan was on top they came to England and were unbeaten in a series for almost 40 years if I am correct, and when England played better they came to Pakistan and won against us in Karachi, where Pakistan had never lost a test match.

  •   Cricinfouser on June 15, 2017, 20:02 GMT

    Morgan's comment underlines what the real capabilities of England team is. They are just flat pitch bullies. Apart from Root and Braistraw their batsmen are one dimensional. Their pace bowlers are all the same hit the deck' kind of bowlers. And the spinners are just average. I was writing it even before the tournament begin. Well their couch said England position in this tournament was just 3 or 4 Which is a fair comment

  • inshallah_the_boys_played_well on June 15, 2017, 19:25 GMT

    This guy is not fit to captain the English side. He has some excuse or the other all the time. He should play as a batsman and let Joe Root lead. If you cannot adapt to different conditions, perhaps you shouldn't be playing international cricket!

  • Waseem Azad on June 15, 2017, 19:21 GMT

    Pakistan havnt played at home for 8yrs and Morgan is making excuses about the Cardiff wicket lol

  • No featured comments at the moment.