Morgan’s ton hands England the initiative

EOIN MORGAN was the hero once again as his magnificent unbeaten century helped England ease into a 1-0 series lead against Australia at the Rose Bowl.

The Irish-born one-day specialist smashed 16 fours for a third ODI century in just 85 balls as the hosts chased down Australia’s 267-7 with four wickets and four overs to spare.

Morgan shared stands of 95 with all-rounder Luke Wright, who added 36 to his two earlier wickets, and 71 with Tim Bresnan, who chipped in with 27.

It completed a memorable day for Andrew Strauss’ men, who are looking to avenge last
summer’s 6-1 defeat to the Aussies in this five-match series.

Winning the toss in this, the 3,000th match of this format since it began in 1971, the Australians started well, adding 52 for the first wicket before the returning Stuart Broad caught and bowled Shane Watson.

It began a satisfactory day for England in the field as they took wickets at regular intervals with strike trio James Anderson, Wright and Broad all chipping in with two apiece, while Michael Clarke kept the score ticking for the tourists with a classy unbeaten 87.

But the blistering batting which crushed the old enemy in the World Twenty20 final last month was evident again as specialist one-day opener Craig Kieswetter impressed with 38, while Kevin Pietersen, who had averaged only 17 in his previous 11 internationals, added 29.

But the mainstay of the innings was Morgan, who showed the true repertoire of his shots to march to a ninth half-century for England, while Wright took the victory target to below 100 with a magnificent six from Watson.

When Wright was trapped lbw by the ultra-quick Ryan Harris, England still needed 76 from 91 balls, but Morgan, ably supported by Bresnan, saw England home to seize the advantage ahead of the second match of the series at Cardiff tomorrow.