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England centurion Morgan: I felt like I was batting with a stump

19   //    04 Mar 2017, 06:20 IST
England batsman Eoin Morgan

A blistering hundred from Eoin Morgan guided England to victory in the opening one-day international against West Indies, but the centurion admitted he struggled in the early stages of his innings.

Captain Morgan led from the front with 107 from 116 balls as England beat the Windies by 45 runs in Antigua on Friday.

It was a slow start for Morgan and England, who slumped to 29-2 when their skipper arrived at the crease but the batsman overcame a sluggish surface and being dropped on four to help the tourists post a total of 296-6, which proved to be enough after West Indies were bowled out for 251.

"I felt like I was batting with a stump for a while, it was that hard to get yourself in. But everybody felt the same," said Morgan, who posted his 10th ODI ton and fifth as England captain - a new record.

"Sam [Billings], at the very beginning, it took him a while to get going and then he managed to get it up to a run-a-ball.

"So reinforcing that at the top of the order was important for guys coming in. Ben Stokes came in and did the exact same thing."

There was an even contribution from England, with Sam Billings (52), Moeen Ali (31 not out) and Ben Stokes (55) supporting Morgan.

As for the bowlers, Chris Woakes (4-47) and Liam Plunkett (4-40) claimed four wickets apiece.

"I think what's pleased me most is everything we talked about pre- this series, we've produced. That was a very convincing performance with the ball and the bat, and in the field I thought we saved a lot of runs.

"It's set a benchmark and a high one for the series. Hopefully we'll continue on the upward curve."

Jason Mohammed (72) and Jonathan Carter (52) starred after the Windies lost three early wickets in their run chase.

But once Carter departed, it triggered a collapse but captain Jason Holder took a lot of positives from the defeat.

"We didn't really get off to a good start when we batted. We lost three wickets for three runs. We were able to rebuild nicely in the middle and I just felt at the end we weren't able to keep our wickets intact," he said.

"Through our batting, I think there were quite a few soft dismissals so if we can correct that and take all our chances, we'll be a lot better off.

"We dropped a crucial chance off Eoin Morgan up front and he was then able to dig in and build a really nice partnership. [But] I'm not too worried - I think if we tighten up in a few areas [we'll be fine]. It's no time to be demoralised. We can see a lot of promise here."

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