England vs Pakistan – Morgan proves doubters wrong
Eoin Morgan underpinned England’s 331 for four with a maiden Test hundred on day one of the four-match npower series against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
Morgan (125no) was retained in the team, following two underwhelming innings against Bangladesh at the start of the season, only because of the broken toe Ian Bell suffered in a mid-summer one-day international.
But the Irishman made no mistake at his third attempt to underline his Test credentials, dominating a record unbroken double-century stand with Paul Collingwood (81no) after England had appeared in trouble on 118 for four following three quick wickets either side of lunch.
After completing his first Test century, Irishman Morgan is odds on to pass 150 (5/6 to score over 155.5), while Collingwood is odds on to get a 100 too (5/6 to pass 111.5).
The fifth-wicket pair held firm against the threat of Mohammad Aamer (three for 39) and Mohammad Asif, both exploiting the cloud cover for Pakistan, before taking toll of back-up bowlers who could not exert necessary control.
The pair have put England in firm control and 4/11 to win the Test, however, it is a not unlikely 5/6 for the next wicket to fall before England reach 363.5 runs, given Pakistan’s attack.
Morgan had two moments of fortune, edging Aamer just short of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal on five and then 73 runs later surviving via the decision review system when luckless leg-spinner Danish Kaneria at last won an lbw decision, only to be informed by the third umpire that the ball was spinning past the leg-stump from round the wicket.
The left-hander, who has become such a lynchpin for England in limited-overs cricket and even before today was being touted by some as a ‘must’ for next winter’s Ashes, demonstrated unequivocally he can translate his talents to the longer format.
There was just one reverse-sweep, expertly executed off Kaneria, among his 16 boundaries in a 151-ball century which arrived in the grand manner with a straight six off Shoaib Malik’s off-spin.
England’s cause was helped too by Pakistani frailties, notably Akmal behind the stumps and their poor use of DRS.
The wicketkeeper dropped Andrew Strauss early on before blundering a stumping opportunity when Collingwood was on 48, while Pakistan chose to review two decisions incorrectly and failed to review one which would have been overturned.
With Morgan looking imperious and Collingwood at his solid best, England could well rack up a score in excess of 510.5. That’s a 5/6 chance.