Morgan ton, seamers seal England win
Fri, Mar 3, '17
A mature century from Eoin Morgan helped England to victory in the first ODI of the series against West Indies in Antigua. The win was secured with almost three overs to spare, with Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett taking four wickets apiece.
Morgan, the England captain, had spoken the day before the game about the need for his side to temper their aggressive instincts a little on a surface that he anticipated would do little to encourage stroke-play. It proved an accurate analysis. On a sluggish, slightly two-paced pitch England were precariously placed at 29 for 2 when Morgan walked to the wicket after West Indies had won what appeared to be an important toss in a match delayed by rain.
It took Morgan seven balls to get off the mark and 33 to reach double-figures. But he did not panic. Recognising that this was a surface on which a total of 270 might prove match-winning, he batted accordingly and reached his tenth ODI century - and second in three matches - with his second six in the 49th over of the England innings. It was a masterful demonstration of experience and calculated aggression in conditions demanding more subtlety than aggression.
It was the first time England had failed to post a total of at least 300 when batting first in an ODI since February 2016. But, in these conditions, it was a challenging total and testament, perhaps, to some growing sophistication within an England side that has tended, until now, to try to blast its way to success. Had they attempted to make 350, they could very well have subsided for fewer than 200.