Morgan makes no excuses as England take eye off the ball

ENGLAND captain Eoin Morgan last night refused to make excuses for a series of fielding errors which saw his side fall to Sri Lanka by nine runs in their Twenty20 international at the Oval.

Morgan opted to bowl first after winning the toss, but his team were made to pay when Thisara Perera was given an extra life when dropped on 20 and went on to score 49 runs off 20 deliveries as Sri Lanka made 183-7.

England dropped three catches in all, then came up short on 174-7 despite late fireworks from Ravi Bopara – 28 runs of 15 balls – leaving Morgan despondent.

“We fielded poorly and allowed one of the world’s best finishers to get in and take advantage of that, which was disappointing,” he said.

“There’s no excuses like there were in the World Twenty20 [in Bangladesh], we had perfect fielding conditions and dropped three. There’s no excuses, we need to go back and practice with more intensity.

“Things felt controlled in the first 15 overs, then towards the end when things go against you it can be chaotic. Our skill level needs to be higher.”

The bright spots for England, who return to the Oval tomorrow for a 50-over contest, were the performances of debutant bowler Harry Gurney (2-26) and opening batsman Alex Hales, who hit 66 runs off 41 balls, including nine boundaries.

“He [Gurney] bowled magnificently,” added Morgan. “He transferred his form from county cricket onto the international stage and that’s very promising to see.

“It was frustrating we couldn’t manage to get partnerships going with Alex, as it would have taken the weight off the back end considering we knew [Lasith] Malinga would bowl two of the last four overs.”