Eoin Morgan, England’s stand-in one-day captain, last night restated his belief in his inexperienced team. Following a heavy defeat by Australia, which puts the tourists 1-0 ahead in the NatWest Series, Morgan said: “We’re certainly looking at the bigger picture with these guys.
“It’s certainly not short-term. They have been involved with the Lions for a while now and with the sort of characters they are we’re expecting them to bounce back pretty quickly, probably as early as the next match at Edgbaston on Wednesday.”
England always knew they were taking a calculated gamble by choosing a weakened squad for these matches. But it was a deliberate policy with twin objectives: to rest key Test players after a gruelling Ashes series and to put a multitude of fringe candidates through their paces with the 2015 World Cup in mind.
It did not help that the balance of the side looked peculiar yesterday and England looked a bowler short. Australia’s 315 for 7 in their 50 overs was always likely to be out of reach.
“It was probably more of a 275 type of pitch,” said Morgan. “It was hard initially when you got in but when you developed a partnership you found yourself without any effort going at five or six an over. But we lost wickets in the chase throughout the innings. We tried to rebuild after the loss of early wickets but we lost continually throughout.”
He defended the selection by suggesting that most teams tend to make up the overs needed by their fifth bowler. In recent times, however, England have tended to know their preferred quintet at the start of an innings.
“They played particularly well and aggressively and put our bowlers under a lot of pressure,” said Morgan. “If you get after one or two bowlers, regardless of the side, it makes it difficult for the opposition. It’s the case for most one-day teams that you make up overs with a part-time bowler. Having that versatility and the option of another bowler is crucial. We have had the luxury of a very experienced international bowler batting at seven. The guys are learning. Today was a bad day. We probably let them get 40 too many but the batsmen are as guilty as the bowlers.”
Australian captain Michael Clarke was pleased to claim a win following the 3-0 Test series defeat. “It’s a nice feeling. The boys deserve credit as to make more than 300 on that wicket was a really good score and our bowlers executed well,” the man of the match said after his 105. “It doesn’t matter how you win, it’s about crossing the line. As a one-day outfit that’s our goal. We are here to win the series and 1-0 is a good start.”
Clarke played down the problems of balancing a side, adding: “It’s always hard with every team. You want to have your cake and eat it, strengthen your batting and have an extra bowler. The guys in our changing room have so much talent, if they feel confident they can take a bowler, no ground is big enough.”