'It's a great achievement and I am very proud of myself,' says Morgan

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The Independent Online

Eoin Morgan is nothing if not a confident chap. And, after a day here that he will never forget, the second Irish-born cricketer to score a Test hundred for England has plenty to feel confident about.

It is fairly safe to assume that Frederick Fane did not unveil the reverse sweep on his way to 143 in Johannesburg in 1906. And he probably did not reach three figures with a straight driven six, either. But what would really have impressed anyone, from any generation, was the way Morgan carefully established himself at the crease after walking to the middle with England in some trouble at 118 for 4.

This was a "proper" Test innings put together by the 23-year-old, who was winning only his third cap, and it will have convinced most of the doubters that here is a batsman who can prosper at the highest level after regularly making hay in limited-overs cricket.

"It was extremely satisfying," said Morgan, whose unbroken stand of 213 with Paul Collingwood guided England into a position of strength. "To score a Test hundred in only my third game is a great achievement and I'm very proud of myself.

"The feeling of getting to three figures was fantastic. I was glad he [Shoaib Malik] lobbed it up. I was expecting him to dart the ball in but when he tossed it up I had to free up my hands and throw everything at it."

After Morgan twice got in in against Bangladesh earlier this summer and then getting out when apparently set, the idea that he might not have the temperament for Test cricket was in danger of taking root. But not with the man himself.

"I think I have answered some questions," he said. "I also think I have improved my game a lot, and I'm still improving, so hopefully I'll have a lot more to contribute in the future.

"The major factor was that I allowed myself to get in under difficult circumstances," Morgan added. "It did a lot early on and the guys did really well, but Paul and I set up a great platform for ourselves by getting past that swing and then we took advantage when the ball went a bit softer and pitch got a bit flatter.

"I've never doubted myself – absolutely not. I don't think I have any doubt in my talent. I'm quite a confident player and I like to express myself. But I've only played three games so I have a lot to learn, and hopefully more runs to score. I'll just keep doing what I do."

*Yorkshire have suspended Azeem Rafiq and joined in the condemnation of their England Under-19 all-rounder following his behaviour during and after the recent game against Sri Lanka at Northampton. The teenager was left out of this week's second match, at Scarborough, after breaking a team curfew during the opening Test, then responded to that move by England by posting two expletive-laden rants on his Twitter page. The Yorkshire chief executive, Stewart Regan, said last night that Raziq had been suspended by the county pending an investigation, and added: "Azeem's behaviour was totally unacceptable and the club will not tolerate it."

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