Tuesday 26 September 2017

Ton-up Morgan enjoys homecoming

Eoin Morgan's brilliant hundred rescued England against Ireland
Eoin Morgan's brilliant hundred rescued England against Ireland

England's stand-in captain Eoin Morgan reflected on a "very satisfying" return home after he and Ravi Bopara hit match-winning centuries against Ireland.

Morgan and Bopara shared in a world-record, unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 226 as England recovered from 48 for four to win the RSA Challenge one-day international in Dublin.

For former Ireland international Morgan, who hit an ODI career-best 124 from 106 balls, the performance carried extra poignancy coming on his home ground at Malahide.

Morgan said: "It was very satisfying, particularly getting over the line.

"We had a long way to come and we didn't really adapt to conditions but when we got a partnership going it was easy to score. We all play on wickets like this every day of the week.

"I have won a trophy here with this club and it was a fantastic feeling.

"I love this area, it is a fantastic part of Dublin. To get a victory like that and perform the way we did was very satisfying.

"Centuries at number five are few and far between. Not many people do it.

"You have got to be happy seeing the innings out and contributing at a reasonable rate.

"Then Ravi has got a hundred coming in behind me at six. That is one hell of an achievement."

Bopara's rapid 101, off 75 balls, was his first ODI century.

Morgan, who is captaining the side in the absence of the rested Alastair Cook for this autumn's one-dayers, was booed when he came to the crease but earned a standing ovation at the end.

He brought up his century with a six and then finished the match with another maximum.

On his initial reception, he said: "It is mid-afternoon in Dublin - it is expected!

"I still love the place, always will. I have enjoyed my day."

Despite Ireland's loss, the day was still a momentous one for cricket in the country.

The game attracted a crowd near the ground's 10,000 capacity and Ireland proved more than competitive, at one stage threatening to repeat their famous 2011 World Cup win over England.

Their score of 269 for seven was built around a century from their captain William Porterfield, who hit 112 at the top of the innings.

England could also be thankful for having another Irishman in their ranks, as debutant Boyd Rankin finished the pick of their bowlers with four for 46.

Porterfield said: "Yes it is frustrating when a couple of Irish lads are playing against you, but there is nothing you can do.

"If you offered me those two lads in my side I would take them every day of the week.

"But they are trying to play as much international cricket as they can. They want to play Test cricket as well and unfortunately Ireland can't offer them that at the minute.

"It is water under the bridge as far as we are concerned, it was past us before the game even began.

"It just so happened they were two of the main performers for them.

"We were slightly disappointed ourselves given the position we were in at half-time. We felt our 270 was a very competitive total."

Porterfield was pleased with his own performance in what has generally been a frustrating season for him in terms of form.

He said: "It is obviously nice to lead from the front at get a few runs.

"And I think one of the most pleasing things for ourselves is in the three games we have played against full members this year - the two Pakistan games and this game, we've had lads get hundreds and the top six have scored runs.

"It is important they do that consistently and that is pleasing."

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