Mor­gan’s bowled over with vic­tory

Tourists just too strong for In­dia in T20 opener

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Joshua Peck

ENG­LAND out­classed In­dia with bat and ball to win the open­ing T20I in Kan­pur with cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan quick to praise his bowl­ing unit.

The tourists re­stricted In­dia to 147-7 with Moeen Ali the pick of the bowlers, claim­ing 2-21 from his four overs, while Ty­mal Mills bagged his first wicket in an Eng­land shirt.

Adil Rashid was re­called to the side, but was not re­quired to bowl a sin­gle ball with Mills and Chris Jor­dan both fin­ish­ing with 1-27.

Ja­son Roy and Sam Billings then got the tourists off to a flyer be­fore Mor­gan smashed four max­i­mums in a classy half-cen­tury. Joe Root saw Eng­land home with 11 balls to spare, stroking an un­beaten 46.

Mor­gan ad­mit­ted the chase would not have been so sim­ple were it not for bril­liant work from his bowlers. He said:“Our bowlers were out­stand­ing tonight. Ev­ery­body within the unit pro­duced and ex­e­cuted what we talked about in our plans – Moeen Ali in par­tic­u­lar, on a wicket that didn’t turn a great deal. He showed all his ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Ty­mal Mills and Chris Jor­dan – two peo­ple who came into the team af­ter not be­ing in the one-day se­ries – also put their hands up tonight.”

ENG­LAND had a glimpse of the fu­ture in Kan­pur last night and it in­volved Sam Billings and Ja­son Roy open­ing in both the white-ball for­mats.

That is not to write off Alex Hales, whose bro­ken hand ruled him out of the rest of this lim­ite­dovers tour af­ter the sec­ond ODI in Cut­tack. And let’s not for­get that only last sum­mer Hales hit Eng­land’s high­est in­di­vid­ual one­day score – 171 against Pak­istan – of all time.

But his winter has been a non­event, which was in part self-in­flicted be­cause he chose not to tour Bangladesh.

And while Billings has not made an unar­guable case for in­clu­sion in both the T20 and 50over sides, his au­dac­ity and ball-strik­ing skills are sim­ply im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore.

He is also a con­sid­er­ably bet­ter fielder than Hales.

Eoin Mor­gan said: “He’s in out­stand­ing form. I watched him in the build-up to this se­ries in the Big Bash and he struck the ball as well as any­body. We en­cour­age him to en­joy the form he’s in. It’s easy to put pres­sure on your­self when the op­por­tu­nity comes but he did bril­liantly.”

It took Eng­land 14 balls to dou­ble the amount of sixes In­dia man­aged in the whole of their in­nings. Only Suresh Raina, when he heaved Ben Stokes over mid-wicket, cleared the bound­ary in In­dia’s in­nings.

The pitch was two-paced though Eng­land made it look much eas­ier to bat on than the hosts. The way that In­dia closed out their in­nings – happy to keep ro­tat­ing the strike un­til MS Dhoni gave it a whack in the fi­nal over – sug­gested they thought their to­tal was de­fend­able.

Eng­land’s open­ers made a mock­ery of that. From the tenth ball of the in­nings, Billings walked across his stumps and flicked Jasprit Bum­rah over fine leg for six. It was the sort of in­ven­tive­ness which we used to ex­pect and ad­mire from Asian bats­men but times are chang­ing.

And, best of all, the rev­o­lu­tion is be­ing tele­vised.

Hav­ing been un­der a de­gree of pres­sure – not least be­cause his own sketchy form was keep­ing Billings and Jonny Bairstow out of the 50-over side – Eoin Mor­gan has been in a rich vein of form this past week or so.

His cen­tury in the sec­ond one­dayer in Cut­tack was a mas­ter­class in game man­age­ment and de­served bet­ter than the 15-run de­feat it yielded.

And yes­ter­day’s in­nings of 51 from 38 balls, which in­cluded four of Eng­land’s seven sixes, was de­scribed as “world-class” by his op­po­site num­ber, Vi­rat Kohli. He held the chase to­gether af­ter both open­ers went in the space of four balls. He put on 83 in 11.3 overs with Joe Root, a per­fectly paced partnership. Kohli had been mod­er­ately con­de­scend­ing about Ty­mal Mills be­fore the game, say­ing he had not seen much of him and he had faced plenty of 90mph bowl­ing be­fore. True enough, but Mills

cer­tainly was not over­awed and it was in­struc­tive that Kohli was out, for 29, off Moeen Ali’s very first ball, to a sharp catch at mid­wicket from Mor­gan at mid-wicket.

Kohli was full of praise for Eng­land’s at­tack, say­ing: “Eng­land’s bowlers showed char­ac­ter and they de­served to win. They bowled bet­ter and they were smarter.

“Mills’ bowl­ing out of the back of the hand was good and they ex­e­cuted pretty nicely. There were some loose shots from us as well – it was a com­bi­na­tion of the two.”

The field­ing gong went to Adil Rashid who, hav­ing pouched an easy one at back­ward square leg to get rid of KL Rahul, took an ab­so­lute blin­der to dis­miss Yu­vraj Singh.

Rashid, who did not even get a bowl, would not be re­garded as one of the bet­ter field­ers in this Eng­land side but he raced in from the fine-leg bound­ary and clung on to a top-edged hook just as he was about the hit the turf.

In­deed, Yu­vraj felt it had and it re­quired a TV re­play to send him on his way. It would have been so harsh on Rashid had that one been called back.

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

We’ve got him: Moeen Ali and cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan cel­e­brate the wicket of In­dia's Man­ish Pandey while, be­low, Mor­gan and Joe Root cross dur­ing their key partnership

Top work: Eng­land skip­per Eoin Mor­gan con­grat­u­lates Ben Stokes on the wicket of Suresh Raina

Tak­ing Eng­land home: Joe Root steers a shot into the leg side

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