England v Sri Lanka: Eoin Morgan praises Notts duo after nine-run loss

England v Sri Lanka: Eoin Morgan heaps praise on Harry Gurney and Alex Hales after a nine-run T20 loss at Kia Oval

Eoin Morgan reserved praise for Harry Gurney and Alex Hales after England suffered a nine-run loss to Sri Lanka at Kia Oval on Tuesday night.

The tourists posted a target of 183-7 after Thisara Perera top-scored with 49 runs from 20 balls, albeit aided by Michael Carberry’s dropped catch.

We didn’t get a partnership going with Halesy and that’s what’s let us down in the chase

Eoin Morgan

England rallied through Hales’s superb 66, but Morgan’s side failed to back up their opener as the hosts fell nine runs short of Sri Lanka’s tally.

And the England captain praised the Nottinghamshire duo after debutant Gurney recorded figures of 2-26 from four overs and ran out Perera in an otherwise disappointing bowling display.

“I certainly see Harry Gurney as one of those (death bowlers),” Morgan told ECB’s website.

“He showed great skill at the death today; he’s done it at Notts for quite some time now. He has got something different. He showed great skill against Thisara Perera, who has the capabilities of smashing the ball to all parts.

“It used to be Jade Dernbach who had something different in the team and that worked for a while, now it’s Harry. The more he plays, the more he learns and the more he will improve.

“Hales’ continued form in international cricket has been brilliant.”

Morgan was critical of England’s bowling after their home summer campaign began with a whimper ahead of a five-match one-day international series against Sri Lanka.

“If it’d been an ideal run chase, we would have left 10 or 15 less to get off the other bowlers,” added Morgan. “But we didn’t get a partnership going with Halesy and that’s what’s let us down in the chase.”

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