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News

Eoin Morgan left frustrated as England fail to adapt to bouncy Bridgetown

Visitors caught on the hop after dominating on flat deck in warm-up match

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
23-Jan-2022
James Vince slapped a cut straight to Darren Bravo, West Indies vs England, 1st T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados, January 22, 2022

James Vince slapped a cut straight to Darren Bravo  •  Getty Images

Eoin Morgan was frustrated by England's failure to adapt to conditions at Kensington Oval in their nine-wicket defeat to West Indies in the first of five T20 internationals, on a pitch with variable bounce.
England had posted 231 in their only warm-up game against a BCA President's XI on a pitch that Jason Roy - who hit a 36-ball hundred - described as "massively flat". However, they were bowled out for 103 on Saturday night, and even that total represented something of a recovery after they had slumped to 29 for 5 and 49 for 7, with Jason Holder enjoying conditions on his home pitch.
Holder found some steepling bounce from a good length with the new ball but several deliveries kept very low, while Akeal Hosein, the left-arm spinner, got the ball to turn away sharply from the outside edge of England's right-handers.
"[They were] actually the opposite conditions to the wicket that we played on two or three days ago," Morgan said. "West Indies dominated the game early on: we lost early wickets [and] we didn't seem to adapt well enough in running, which is what you have to do when challenged like that with movement and a bit of bounce.
"We'll have to come back tomorrow, fresh gameplan, try and execute it better, because I think conditions have a chance of being very similar. It was something that we spoke about pre-game: when we come to the West Indies, probably more so in Barbados and one other island - St Lucia - there's a little bit more bounce.
"The only thing we found tricky today [was that it] wasn't that consistent. But again, trying to get that mindset around risk-reward, we found a challenge today. Hopefully we'll come back better tomorrow and rectify that."
England were asked to bat first after Kieron Pollard won the toss but Morgan admitted that he would have chosen to do so himself. He has not chosen to bat first in a T20 international since 2016 and while England have been among the world's strongest chasing teams, their inexperience batting first contributed to their semi-final defeat against New Zealand at last year's World Cup.
Sunday night's game will be played on a different strip but England are expecting it to play in a similar way, offering the bowlers something throughout both innings. It remains to be seen if Liam Livingstone has recovered sufficiently from a mild illness (England clarified it was not Covid-related) to take part, but Liam Dawson, who stepped in as a spin-bowling allrounder in his first T20I since 2018, said that the short turnaround was a positive.
"I think it's a good thing," he said. "We've got an opportunity tomorrow night to learn from tonight and put it right, and get a win on the board. All the boys will be really excited to go again tomorrow.
"We knew it wasn't going to be a belter. Looking back if we'd have got 130-140, it would potentially have been a completely different game. Going into tomorrow, we're going to have to learn and maybe take our time a little bit more and put a score on the board.
"It wasn't very dewy out there at all. Conditions didn't really change to be honest; I think we just didn't get enough runs on the board for us to win. I think batting first could be the way going forward, and putting a score on the board."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98