The experience of Morgan and Root proved productive for England……
After a shocking defeat at the hands of Scotland, England were on the brink of creating another upset in the series opener against Australia at London, but an astute partnership between Eoin Morgan and Joe Root avoided another heartbreak. Just a year into the World Cup and this series will provide a clear picture of where both the teams stand and how much repair work is required.
England are one of the red-hot favourites in the upcoming World Cup. They have been the most dominating and attacking ODI side since the 2015 World Cup and have looked in good rhythm since then. Under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, England have blossomed into a force to be reckoned in shorter-formats. They have won 67-percent of the completed matches since the last World Cup, which speaks about their impact and dominance.
The problem for England have been their bowling; they haven’t picked enough wickets and have banked heavily on their batting to bail them out. in fact, they have been one of those teams with a poor bowling attack, which is also the department they need to work on. A team consistently can’t win on the back of their bowling. Keeping the World Cup in mind, the bowling department plays a key role in knockout games and England would certainly want their bowlers to step up and deliver.
At London, Australia were without the services of, their two key batsmen – David Warner and Steve Smith, who were subsequently banned after the ball tampering incident. They had some massive holes to be filled and one wouldn’t be wrong in saying the batting line-up did look a bit vulnerable. They won the toss and elected to bat first, but English bowlers made deep inroads early into the innings.
Australia somehow managed to set a modest target of 215 on a pitch where English spinners were getting some help from the surface. The run-chase looked like a cakewalk for England, but it wasn’t to be. Australian bowling attack lacked that firepower in the absence of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. But their seamers did well in chipping three early wickets and put England on the back foot with the new ball. At 38 for 3, he game was evenly poised. England needed a quiet partnership while another wicket would have steered Australia to total command.
At the crease were, England’s two most reliable batsmen – Joe Root and Eoin Morgan. Both have a knack of getting the tough runs and England desperately wanted these two to fire. The required run-rate was never a problem, they just needed to bid their time at the crease and rotate the strike. Morgan played his natural game and got the ball rolling from the outset.
The duo realised their need to bid time in the middle and stitch a partnership. England were without Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes in the line-up, who have been handy with the bat as well. They needed this partnership to build and set a platform for the likes of Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali to fire. With the help of 11 boundaries, Morgan garnered 69 runs while Root had a fifty to his name.
This partnership was a fine example of calculated aggression and astute defending. Something, which Australian batsmen failed to replicate. Both the teams lost early wickets, but the experience, temperament and brilliance of Root and Morgan made the difference.
Root and Morgan accounted for 115 runs between them in 21 overs and laid the foundation for a successful run-chase. This partnership harboured England to safety in this encounter. They have a solid batting attack, and this outing was just a testament to it. Although there were few hiccups after Root’s dismissal, but the deep batting line-up ensured England chased down the target with three wickets to spare. This English side is brimming with superstars, they have some serious ammunition in their batting artillery, but need their bowlers to deliver consistently.