Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Morgan Must Carry on the Good Work against India

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Morgan Must Carry on the Good Work against India

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent at the Rose Bowl

EOIN MORGAN has played two enterprising innings in a lowkey series against Sri Lanka but not until we see him against India later this summer will it be possible to make a serious assessment of his qualities as a Test batsman.

Morgan has done all he can in these matches. Sensing the chance to accelerate in the first innings at Lord's, the Irishman scored 79 and shared a stand of 101 in 19.5 overs with Matt Prior. It was not enough to help England to victory, although the knock was clear evidence of his ability to attack.

England's best one-day batsman produced a similar effort here yesterday, in his ninth Test, as he hit 71 from 110 deliveries and built a breezy partnership of 137 in 33.1 overs with Ian Bell. So far, so good, but against such a docile pace attack decisive judgments must be postponed. Against India, the world's top-ranked Test team, Morgan will need to cope with high-quality seam and spin bowling.

Zaheer Khan is one of the best leftarm pace bowlers in world cricket and should enjoy English conditions, while Harbhajan Singh has been a wily, dangerous off-spinner for a decade. Morgan has been so successful in oneday cricket because of his icy temperament and the ability to pace an innings and locate the gaps in the field. These qualities are similarly important at Test level but while the 24-year-old has shown plenty of promise in the five-day game there are some concerns.

Against Pakistan last summer, Morgan made a superb century in difficult circumstances at Trent Bridge but did not manage a significant score in any of the remaining three Tests. Furthermore, opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif exposed a vulnerability outside off stump that Zaheer will seek to expose again.

Morgan was not used during the Ashes because Bell returned from injury to take his place.

With Paul Collingwood retired, Morgan needs to show he can prosper in Tests against the best teams because he fulfils a crucial role in the side. If England lose early wickets, he is there to counter-attack. If England are on top, his responsibility is to press home the advantage quickly. …

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