We’re struggling with the basics – Morgan concerned by England batting failures

By Nick Purewal, Press Association Sport

Eoin Morgan has admitted England’s “batting mantra” has deserted them just when they need it most, with defeat by Australia leaving their World Cup hopes on the line.

Captain Morgan vowed to “lead from the front” as England face do-or-die clashes with India and New Zealand for a place in the semi-finals.

The hosts and pre-tournament favourites slipped to a 64-run trouncing by Australia at Lord’s, extending their winless World Cup run against their old rivals to 29 years.

World number one 50-over side England had beaten Australia in 10 of their last 11 one-day Internationals before Tuesday’s comprehensive loss, leaving Morgan chastened but by no means kowtowed.

“Everything is in our control, and we just need to produce performances worthy of winning either one or the next two games,” said Morgan.

“We’ve struggled with the basics of what we call our batting mantra, showing intent, building partnerships and doing it in our own way.

“We haven’t done those for long enough periods of games. Either chasing down 230 or 280, that’s disappointing.

England’s Eoin Morgan made just four against Australia (Tim Goode/PA).

“Our batting mantra is always evolving – the way we’ve played it’s evolved quite a lot.

“I thought the way we played against Afghanistan in the first 15 overs, probably in 2015 and 2016 would not have happened.”

Jason Behrendorff claimed a maiden ODI five-wicket haul on his Lord’s debut as England crumbled to a third defeat in seven round-robin matches.

Ben Stokes hit a battling 89 while dealing with tightness in his calves, but injured Jason Roy’s stand-in James Vince failed again with a duck, with Morgan, Joe Root and Moeen Ali also failing to reach double figures.

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates taking the catch to dismiss Eoin Morgan (Adam Davy/PA).

England compounded their loss to Sri Lanka with another wayward performance, leaving Morgan to concede that confidence could now take a dent.

“I think it will take a little bit of a hit, but not across the changing room,” he said.

“We go back to what we do well and we’ll still strive to do that in Sunday’s game (against India at Edgbaston).

“Ideally I’d like to lead from the front.

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“The majority of captains have success when they lead from the front.

“So contributions in the next two games from me might have an impact in the changing room. So hopefully I can make a difference.”

England could wind up facing Australia again in the knockout stages, but Morgan rejected suggestions their old foes now have a psychological edge.

Asked if 29 years without a World Cup win over Australia plays on England minds, Morgan said: “No, because I’ve only played against them in two World Cups and I’m 32-years-old.”

England turned their disastrous World Cup 2015 performance on its head with ultra aggressive batting, and headed into the tournament with many pondering the hosts breaching the 500-run barrier.

Tournament bosses the International Cricket Council have favoured less batsman-friendly pitches than England would have preferred, however, creating enticing contests but stymieing the hosts’ scoring.

Morgan conceded England have to get to grips with trickier pitches than they would like – and fast.

Asked if he had been surprised by the pitches, Morgan said: “Not so much with the weather that we’ve had with the last week or so.

“That’s been a challenge, there was a lot of rain last night, the wicket this morning was soft.

“Whether it’s today, tomorrow, next week, during the semi-finals, wickets will be slow, low, they do wear. That’s the nature of ICC events.”

Behrendorff insisted England remain favourites despite their hefty loss, even though Australia’s record five World Cup triumphs weighs even heavier now on their rivals.

Jason Behrendorff celebrates taking the wicket of Jofra Archer (Tim Goode/PA).

“The competition’s still very open, England are probably still firm favourites being the home country,” said Behrendorff.

“We’ll just keep aspiring to play good cricket, but we’re not favourites that’s for sure.”

Asked if Australia can go on and win the title, however, he added: “Oh for sure, again, momentum is a huge thing in tournament play.

“We’ve got two big games coming up as well, so ideally two more wins there and go into the semi-finals in great momentum.”