Morgan sees super power emerging
Eoin Morgan believes England showed the qualities of a champion side in recovering from 22 for three to close on 342 for six on day one of the second npower Test at Lord’s.
The hosts were surprisingly put in by Tillakaratne Dilshan, whose decision paid dividends when Sri Lanka picked up three wickets in the first hour.
However, Alastair Cook began a fightback with 96, sharing a century partnership with Ian Bell, who made 52.
Morgan and Matt Prior followed up with a hundred stand of their own, en route to 79 and 73 not out respectively.
That left England the happier of the sides and gives them further hope of winning a series in which a whitewash will lift them to second in the Test rankings behind India, the summer’s other tourists.
Morgan played down England’s position, saying: "I think it's quite even. We were quite pleased with the way we performed after backs to the wall this morning.”
"It just did enough, and they bowled a fuller length - which was noticeable. Then there were periods after lunch when we had to sit in and leave well and try to set it up for later in the day.
"If we want to be a champion side, when our backs are to the wall we want to come out fighting. We recognise that as a crucial part of our game - we can't just fall over and fold like a deck of cards.”
Morgan, who left well against the seamers but went after the spinners, was pleased with his role in England’s recovery today.
The left-hander made his first significant contribution since taking over from the retired Paul Collingwood.
"It's great to get the opportunity, and also great to see the reward for some of the hard work I've put in over the last six months or so,” he said. "It is something I've worked on, just playing the ball as I see it.
"There were certain stages when me and Cookie were in and they bowled a channel at us to bowl maidens. We said 'fair enough, let they can bowl quite wide, let them come to us'. It was quite slow, so it was hard to go after the ball.”
Cook’s judgement only wavered when he top-edged a pull off Dilhara Fernando to narrowly miss out on a third hundred in as many Test innings.
Morgan lauded the opener along with Bell and Prior, who will resume tomorrow with Stuart Broad.
"Cookie played outstandingly well again. He's in unbelievable form, and it was a crucial innings,” he added.
"Belly did too, and it was a nice position for me and Matty to come in towards the end and take advantage.
"We managed to gain momentum, ran quite well - and got a few more bad balls.
"It puts us in a great position for tomorrow morning, if we can get through the first half-hour.
"If Matty and Broady can get themselves back in, there's no reason why we can't kick on.”
Sri Lanka batting coach Marvan Atapattu also sees the importance of tomorrow morning’s play after the tourists let a strong position slip as England added 177 in the last session.
He said: “Up until tea, I thought we won the first two sessions, but lost a bit of grip after the tea interval.
“Giving up 170 at 4.9 (runs per over) is not good enough having won the toss. But it’s all about getting important early wickets in the morning.
“We lost momentum in the last session but it doesn’t mean we can’t come back into the game. The first hour will be crucial.”