Eoin Morgan admitted that the pitch on Sunday exposed his side’s weakness and insisted that England still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to batting on slow and low pitches. Morgan, however, said he didn’t mind it as he believes his side will only learn from these experiences.
After a comprehensive win in the first T20I on Friday, England were given a taste of their own medicine as India, in the 2nd T20I, thrashed the Three Lions by 7 wickets. After being put into bat, England struggled to get going on a sluggish wicket, posting a below-par 164 after being tortured by slower balls and cutters. But whilst they believed that the Indian batsmen, too, would struggle, that didn’t turn out to be the case as the Men in Blue bulldozed to victory in under 18 overs, thanks to thumping fifties from Virat Kohli and debutant Ishan Kishan.
Reflecting on the loss, England skipper Eoin Morgan admitted in the post-match press conference that the wicket on Sunday ‘exposed’ England’s weakness. Morgan insisted that England are not adept at playing on slow and low wickets, something he felt became evidently clear on Sunday.
"It was quite slow, low, and didn't really turn a great deal - [a pitch] that does expose our weakness," Morgan said at the press conference on Sunday.
"We don't play a lot on slow, low wickets and the more that we can do that, the better. Posting a total on a wicket like that, I thought we were right in the game… we established partnerships, we got to the point where we tried to accelerate, but managed to lose wickets at different stages.
"Taking an early wicket was brilliant but India managed to get away from us quite quickly. Ishan Kishan played pretty well and managed to take the game away from us, and everything that we tried didn't seem to work.”
England registered a dominant, 8-wicket win in the first T20I, but that came on a pitch that provided ample pace and bounce, essentially playing into their hands. Morgan said that the pitch in the first T20I suited his side, unlike the second one which, he felt, took England out of their comfort zone.
"I thought the other night, the pitch really suited us because it had more pace in it - similar to a wicket at home, a Cardiff wicket or somewhere like that, that was a little bit uneven and maybe stood up a little bit. But this took us out of our comfort zone and really was a typical Indian wicket that we would play on in an IPL game. Again, your accuracy has to be on, and you're bowling to guys really on their home patch when you talk about a wicket like this.”
Post the 2019 World Cup, Morgan publicly stated that he wanted England to play on slow and low wickets even back home so that their batsmen and bowlers can adapt quickly when they eventually go to the subcontinent and post the loss on Sunday, the 34-year-old said that he doesn’t mind playing on surfaces like the 2nd T20I as it will only help his men learn on the job.
"To become better in these conditions, the only way you do that is by playing and making mistakes. You tend to learn quicker if you're winning and confident and everything goes reasonably smoothly - you can integrate the learning quite quickly - but equally, if we have to learn the hard way, we're still going through that process of trying to learn game-on-game so when it comes to the World Cup in seven months' time, we can be as best prepared or know more about ourselves and where we need to get better before then."
England, in each of the first two T20Is, picked a lone spinner in the form of Adil Rashid, but that could change come the third T20I, which will be played on a red soil wicket. Morgan said that he expects the wicket in the third T20I to turn significantly and added that the game will be a healthy test for his batsmen. The England skipper, however, did not confirm if off-spinner Moeen Ali will return to the side.
"The next game is on the red soil that looks like Ayers Rock so it's probably going to turn. These are the challenges that we want to play against. Regardless of how we do in the series we want to learn as much as we can and get that experience under our belt for the World Cup.
"Because we're playing on a different type of soil, on the red soil not the black soil, there's a chance that it might take more spin which probably lends itself to batting first if it doesn't hold as well together as the black soil, which traditionally it doesn't. It might lend itself to posting a total because the wicket might get worse.
"The two wickets we've played on have not turned. We looked at them and didn't expect them to turn, but potentially, the next game might offer a little bit for the spinners."