Morgan hopes match-winning intensity is England’s new ‘normal’ in ODI cricket
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are leading from the front for Morgan’s men.
Eoin Morgan is hoping England can sustain the new level of intensity which has put them on course for an unprecedented 5-0 one-day international whitewash of Australia.
England turned a record Chester-le-Street run chase of 310 for eight into a formality, with six wickets and more than five overs to spare, after Jason Roy (101) hit his second century in under a week as he and Jonny Bairstow (79) again overwhelmed an inexperienced opposition attack.
They shared their fifth century opening stand in this format – more than any others for England – and kept up an unstoppable barrage of boundaries to put on 174 together in just 23.4 overs.
Australia’s more conservative approach yielded successive century partnerships too as both Aaron Finch (100) and Shaun Marsh (101) reached three figures.
But even after Roy and Bairstow departed in quick succession, Jos Buttler (54no) took over with a 28-ball half-century to hasten England to a 4-0 lead with one match to play at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Asked for his reaction to the openers’ superlative batting, Morgan said: “If it does become the ‘normal’, that would be awesome – because it creates an unbelievable tone at the top of the order.
“I think the form the two guys are in is phenomenal.
“I think we’ve found a new gear, or a new level of intensity.”
Numbere three Alex Hales has admitted himself he may struggle to hold his place, despite his 147 in Tuesday’s world-record 481 for six at Trent Bridge, once key all-rounder Ben Stokes is fit again.
Morgan added: “I’m glad we’re spoiled for guys in form at the moment, because I’ve been in teams where (those) next in or fighting for places can’t get a run.
“This is a very privileged position to be in.”
England stopped Australia’s batsmen dominating, notably when Joe Root got through an unexpected 10 overs of his part-time off-spin at a cost of just 44 runs.
Morgan said: “We didn’t take wickets, which is an area we hope to improve, but we certainly controlled the run-rate.
“We always kept Australia within our grasp, certainly until the last eight to 10 overs when they were in position to get away from us.
“We’ve played that sort of cricket in the past, and know it falls on a couple of guys to do really well – or else it can go badly – and Dave (Willey) stepped up to the plate and bowled really well.”
Morgan refused to compare Australia’s batting, however, with England’s at the last World Cup in 2015 – when they suffered an early exit and Michael Clarke’s hosts were champions.
“That’s very disrespectful,” he said. “No, I don’t agree with that.
“[Australia captain] Tim (Paine) thought they were 30 or 40 short. In 2015, we were always 70 or 80 short – and in some cases, 200!”
Finch blamed himself for failing to ensure a bigger total.
“It was obviously frustrating,” he said. “I could have got us to a lot more, probably left a heap out there, because we had a good partnership going.
“For me to get out just past a hundred was disappointing, when we could have really kicked on, put the foot down for that last 12 or 15 overs. I take full responsibility for that.”
He admires England, but insists Australia must resist the temptation of simply copying a gameplan that may not work for them.
“The tone they are setting in one-day cricket is obviously the benchmark in the world,” said Finch.
“They’ve got a pretty good blueprint. (But), ‘do we need to copy that?’ No.
“I think we’ve still got to stick to our strengths, but just find a way to stay in the contest for longer.”