Captain Eoin Morgan rouses England to seal winning return
Ireland 269-7 England 274-4 (England win by six wickets)
Tuesday 03 September 2013
Eoin Morgan came home to Malahide and scored a century as England eased to a six-wicket victory over Ireland in this one-off one-day international.
On the ground where he played senior cricket, in front of a handful of spectators as a 13-year-old, the Irishman took centre stage with almost 10,000 people watching to finish 124 not out, winning the match with his fourth six.
Morgan, still six days short of his 27th birthday, shared a world-record fifth-wicket partnership of 226 with Ravi Bopara who deservedly made his century just before England reached their victory target of 270 with seven overs to spare.
The England captain, who keeps the job for the five-match NatWest series against Australia starting on Friday, described his homecoming as "very satisfying".
Morgan said: "Our top-order batsmen didn't adapt to the conditions, so it was very satisfying to score a century on a ground I know so well and particularly getting us over the line. But I knew if we batted 50 overs we would win.
"It was an amazing feeling to be playing in front of my family on the ground where I won a cup [the Irish Cup in 2002] and to get a standing ovation from the crowd for my century is a feeling hard to beat."
Morgan was not the only Irishman in England's red. Boyd Rankin, after 38 ODIs for his home country, was given his debut and was England's most successful bowler, taking 4 for 47 as Ireland made 269 for 7.
William Porterfield dominated that innings, the captain scoring his first ODI century for three years. It was a welcome return to form for the opening batsman who has lost his place in the Warwickshire four-day line-up but his international statistics this year stand up with the best of them – this was his second hundred to add to four 50s in 10 innings.
But for the second big match in row, Porterfield was let down by his bowlers. In May, Pakistan were 133 for 7, chasing 240, and they won by two wickets; today, thanks to Tim Murtagh's impressive opening spell, Bopara came to the middle with England struggling on 48 for 4 after 15 overs.
Rankin was one of three England debutants but it was not such a good day for the others. Gary Ballance was out second ball – although he did take a catch to dismiss the dangerous Paul Stirling – while Michael Carberry put down two catches, including Porterfield on 85, and was the butt of the crowd's jeers throughout the day, He also bowled one over that cost 12 runs and was then the first England wicket to fall, in Rankin's second over.
But Morgan had sympathy for him. He said: "Debutants are on a hiding to nothing. Carbs is a very experienced cricketer who will pick himself up and we will encourage him to play with the freedom he does with Hampshire and we have very high hopes for him."
From the perils of 48 for 4, Morgan and Bopara did not give another chance until what proved to be the final over, when the captain was dropped at deep midwicket. He finished his fifth one-day century on 124 not out from 106 balls with eight fours and four sixes. Bopara was even quicker, facing 75 balls and hitting 15 boundaries, five of them clearing the fence.
Porterfield, like his good friend and opposite number, reached his century with a six but the big partnership was missing and he and the record-breaking crowd were left "frustrated" that the best England batsman and bowler on the day were both Irish.
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