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Morgan sparkles in England triumph
by Jinu Sabastian


Ground:New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Scorecard:England v Sri Lanka
Player:SHT Kandamby, AD Mathews, EJG Morgan
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2009/10

DateLine: 25th September 2009

 

Eoin Morgan led the way as England sprang a surprise win over Sri Lanka by six wickets to throw Group B deliciously open. Morgan was the star for England during the chase as he had entered the scenario when the game could have swung in any direction. He was well supported by cameos from a brisk Collingwood, dour Shah and belligerent Prior as the English team made it to the target with five overs to spare.

 

Earlier in the day the English bowlers led by Anderson and Onions reduced the Lankan team to rubble before Kandamby and Mathews staged a brilliant fightback. Sri Lanka scored 212 in 47.3 overs and England in reply scored 213 in 45 overs.

 

Having won the toss Strauss had little hesitation in electing to bat first on a pitch that offered pace, bounce and movement. The decision was vindicated when Onions send back the dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya for a duck in the second over off the match and four balls later Anderson packed off Dilshan to reduce Sri Lanka to 7 for 2. Jayawardene did not last long when Anderson got one to bend back to catch him dead in front off his stumps and Sangakkara suffered from a brain-freeze when he chased a wide ball from Onions to leave Sri Lanka reeling. When Kandamby joined Samaraweera in the middle the innings was literally in tatters. Both the batsmen were beaten and hit on the body on several occasions early in their innings but once the sting off the English bowlers diminished, the pair prospered.

 

Broad and Onions began to bang the ball short trying to intimidate the batsmen into submission but the plan was a futile one. The pair added 64 runs in 14.3 overs to stabilize the innings and it seemed that the English bowlers had lost the plot. Just when Samaraweera had the bowlers at his mercy, he drove loosely at a wide one from Broad only for Collingwood to take a simple catch at point. The resilience and determination off Samaraweera rubbed off on Kandamby and Mathews as they batted resolutely. When the bowlers erred in their line they attacked while the good balls were given their due. The pair not only got the boundaries but also ran the short singles to keep the scoreboard moving. To add to England's woes 21 wides were given way while the stand bloomed. The sixth wicket produced 82 runs in 16.3 overs and finally an indecision between the two batsmen while taking a single got rid of Kandamby for 53.

 

Mathews got to his fifty off 69 balls with six hits to the fence and was looking good for more when some dramatic events took place in the middle. Mathews turned Onions to deep-midwicket and set off with two runs in mind. Onions meanwhile moved towards the non-striker's end and unknowingly came in the path of Mathews who found himself being obstructed and in the end he was run-out. Mathews was visibly upset with the decision, and tried to argue his case with the umpires, who after a short discussion ruled it against his favour. But Strauss was generous enough to call him back to the crease. Three balls and one run later, Mathews edged Wright low to Matt Prior behind the stumps and as he walked back, he acknowledged Strauss's sportsmanship. The English bowlers should have wrapped up the innings in quick time but the short-ball aliment returned to the pacemen and Muralitharan taking advantage off the length bowled threw his bat around in gay abandon. Broad came back to his senses and pitched the ball up to clean up Muralitharan and Malinga. Sri Lanka crossed the psychological 200 run mark before James Anderson came back to wrap up the innings with the wicket of Mendis leaving England 213 to win.

 

England in reply did not get off to a particularly good start as the Kulasekara removed both the openers in very quick time. Denly was trapped leg before by a sharp inswinger while Strauss could only stand and watch in amazement as Kandamby at midwicket plucked a brilliant one-handed catch to reduce England to 19 for 2 in 7.3 overs. Kulasekara's swing was well complemented by the pace and bounce off Malinga and the cutters off Mathews. Collingwood and Shah joined forces to fight their way out off the hole that England found themselves him. Collingwood was immediately into his stride as he dumped Kulasekara into the deep midwicket stand and then got two consecutive boundaries to put the bowler off his rhythm.

 

Collingwood then turned his attention towards Mathews to get two boundaries in the next over forcing Sangakkara to bring in Mendis in the 12th over. Collingwood continued to look positive in the middle and though Shah did nothing much of note, the third wicket partnership yielded 63 in 12.2 overs to wrest the control back from the Lankan camp. Collingwood deposited Malinga twice over the square-leg fence for two maximums but then an inside edge which deflected onto his stumps terminated his innings four short of a well deserved fifty. Morgan who replaced Collingwood in the middle looked to get on with the game. Unlike Shah who was looking to occupy the crease, Morgan was on look-out for runs. Morgan played some cheeky shots behind the wicket to keep the scoreboard moving and Shah joined the party to launch Kulasekara into the square-leg stand to wake up from his self imposed slumber.

 

Morgan and Shah added 76 in 15 overs and from the body language of the Lankan fielders it seemed that they had given up on the match. But Muralitharan who was impotent till then forced Shah to edge behind to Sangakkara to be dismissed for 44 and that wicket lifted the spirits of Sri Lanka. But the diminutive Morgan had things under control as he took charge off the chase along with Prior. Morgan compiled a well paced fifty in 74 balls with six boundaries and looked determined to see-through the chase. When Prior hit the winnings runs relief was palpable on the faces in the English camp.


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