Eoin Morgan says England were 'way off the mark' in ODI defeat to South Africa
Last Updated: 05/02/20 11:57am
England captain Eoin Morgan blamed rustiness for his side's heavy seven-wicket defeat to South Africa in Cape Town, saying the team were "way off the mark".
World Cup champions England were playing in their first one-day international since lifting the trophy with a famous Super-Over win over New Zealand at Lord's in July.
England, put into bat first, could only muster 258-8 from their 50 overs - Joe Denly (87) and Chris Woakes (40) at least ensuring they posted a respectable score - before Quinton de Kock (107) smashed a fine hundred as South Africa romped home in reply.
"We were way off the mark and were hurt," Morgan said after the humbling defeat. "South Africa completely outplayed us in all departments and we have no excuses.
"We didn't adapt to the conditions. We knew it wasn't going to be an absolute run-fest but every batsman, apart from Denly and Woakes, really struggled to get going, which probably emphasises we are a bit rusty.
"The guys up front came hard, like they normally do and as we always try and do, but when that doesn't come off we tend to try and rein it in a little bit.
"We lost wickets in clusters; myself and Joe [Root] went at the same time and we continued to lose wickets up till that Denly and Woakes partnership.
"South Africa bowled well, bowled accurately, used conditions really well with their use of slower balls and then had the partnership between De Kock and [Temba] Bavuma (98) which we couldn't penetrate.
"That total only got us in the game if we bowled well and managed to take early wickets. Having let De Kock and Bavuma get themselves in, it was a struggle to drag things back.
"Full credit to South Africa, they've started the series really well."
As England look to build towards defending their World Cup crown in 2023 and, more imminently, to two T20 World Cup tournaments in the next two years, younger talent is being bedded into the team.
Big-hitting batsman Tom Banton and legspinner Matt Parkinson came made their ODI debuts at Newlands, with 21-year-old batsman Banton scoring 18 and 23-year-old Parkinson (0-48) finishing wicketless through his 8.4 overs.
"I think they learned a huge amount," added Morgan. "Failure is a huge thing to catapult you forward, learning from your mistakes.
"Banton and Parkinson have come in and seen what international cricket is like, that it's not all crash, bang wallop. Hopefully they'll take that into the rest of the series."
Banton and Parkinson may well get further opportunities to impress in the final two ODIs of the series, but former England coach, Sky Sports' David Lloyd is expecting a much-improved performance whatever the lineup - starting on Friday in Durban.
"South Africa will celebrate tonight, they played really well, got it right at the toss and sussed out the pitch out far better than England," said Lloyd. "But they'll know England will come back stronger.
"England didn't really have their game head on tonight. They didn't get enough runs, of course - the top six didn't feature - and then the bowlers were struggling with the pitch; perhaps it got a little better under lights.
"South Africa looked a better outfit than England, and they're not.
"This England team have been fabulous, we've seen them all around the world, but they just weren't here today.
"They won't say too much, I wouldn't have thought, in the changing room. This next match is on Friday and I expect them to be much, much better.
"They've got to get the message across that they're having a look at some players but, as always, there will be an inquest if you lose, and lose pretty comfortably by seven wickets.
"I would think that they will strengthen the team for this next game and I think that Morgan - who is a fantastic leader - will, in horse racing terms, will feel better for the run."
Watch the second ODI between South Africa and England from 10.30am, Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.