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Morgan admits England couldn’t adjust to the pitch

CARDIFF: England captain Eoin Morgan believed his team failed to adjust to the used pitch at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff as the title favourites went down by eight wickets in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy on Wednesday.

England were bowled out for a meager 211 with Hasan Ali taking 3-35, Junaid Khan 2-43 and debutant Rumman Raees 2-44 in a sublime pace bowling on a pitch which was used for a second consecutive match.

Pakistan romped home in 37.1 overs with Azhar Ali (76) and Fakhar Zaman (57) scoring the bulk of runs.

Pakistan now meets the winner of second semi-final — between India and Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday– in the final at The Oval on Sunday.

Morgan admitted the used pitch snatched any home advantage England would have expected..

“I don’t think there was any home advantage, if that’s what you’re asking. We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament, and certainly we found out the other day that today was going to be on a used wicket,” said Morgan.

“And having watched the game against Sri Lanka, we actually didn’t think it was that bad. But certainly today it was — coming from Edgbaston, it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce and too much to ask for us to adjust to really.

“I don’t think there was any home advantage, if that’s what you’re asking. We knew that we were going to play on a used wicket at some stage in this tournament, and certainly we found out the other day that today was going to be on a used wicket. And having watched the game against Sri Lanka, we actually didn’t think it was that bad.”

But certainly today it was — coming from Edgbaston, it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce and too much to ask for us to adjust to really.

Morgan said not having partnerships let England down.

“I thought — you know, probably every partnership we had struggled to take, I suppose, initiative to the Pakistan bowlers. I thought they bowled really well. They adjusted to conditions extremely well, and the wicket was obviously slow and low and hard to get away to start with.

“Every partnership we had started behind the rate, which put us under the pump a little bit and none of our batsmen seemed to get away.”

Morgan said England batsmen could not hit out when needed.

“I think it does, and I think Joe Root in a similar vein. You know, he’s normally timing the ball even when he’s in a defensive mindset. The fact that he was quite sluggish at the start — I was as well, and given I’ve been in reasonable form of late, I thought it was quite tough, yeah.

“Fair credit to Pakistan. They played brilliantly.”

Morgan denied his team was over confident after winning their first three games and were undefeated in the Group stages.

“Certainly not, not over confident. We played against some really good sides recently, and we’ve managed to beat them. Certainly, that hasn’t gone to our heads at all.

“I think going into today’s game knowing that we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan’s game closer to their home. So it was a big challenge and one that was too far for us.”

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