EOIN MORGAN believes the momentum is with England ahead of tomorrow’s decider in the Royal London One-Day series.
The hosts yesterday squared the series at 2-2 with a hugely impressive three-wicket win over Australia.
Morgan led the way with a top score of 92, while useful support came from James Taylor and Ben Stokes with 41 apiece.
Coming just three days after a comprehensive victory at Old Trafford, it means England are tantalisingly close to beating both World Cup finalists in a summer that has also brought a 3-2 Ashes triumph.
To add Australia to the scalp of New Zealand that was claimed in June, Morgan’s men must win at the home of Lancashire tomorrow and the Irishman believes the hosts can do just that.
He said: “If it (momentum) does exist, I think it is with us.
“I think we managed to steal a little bit of it in Manchester (last Tuesday).
“Certainly, confidence is a contributor to that and going into Sunday the guys are certainly full of confidence.
“We are really looking forward to it.”
A capacity crowd enjoyed a fine day’s cricket at Headingley, as Australia posted 299-7 in 50 overs after initially losing their first three wickets for just 30 runs.
David Willey, who will move to Yorkshire from Northamptonshire ahead of next season, did the early damage before a 173-run stand between Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey brought Australia back into proceedings.
The tourists then suffered another mini-collapse before an unbeaten 84 between Matthew Wade and John Hastings left England needing to chase down a target of 300 for the first time against Australia.
Despite history being against his side, Morgan always felt the hosts were capable of doing just that and his belief was justified by a victory that came with 10 balls to spare.
The England captain said: “I certainly think it (chasing 300 was possible) with the group of players we have. The attitude they show, I think, is outstanding.
“I have never had that sort of feeling in a side before during a chase. I was very optimistic about things.
“It is certainly not about experience because we are a young side. It is just a ‘let’s take it on attitude’, which is brilliant.”
On his own run-a-ball innings of 92 – the top score in the game, eclipsing Maxwell’s 85 for Australia – Morgan added: “I am a firm believer that things work in cycles. When the cycle is in your favour, you have to cash in.
“And, at the moment, I am taking advantage of a little bit of form. Which is good.
“There are only so many words you can say (as captain) or so many words to inspire. The best way, definitely, is to lead from the front.
“I have managed to do that but the significant thing from this chase is that everyone managed to contribute, right down to Moeen Ali and David Willey finishing it off. It was brilliant.”
If England can complete the fightback from 2-0 down in the series to triumph tomorrow, it will cap a remarkable turnaround following the horror show that was the World Cup Down Under. Eliminated at the group stage following defeat to Bangladesh, England were a shambles and Peter Moores paid with his job a couple of months later.
To go from that huge low to the verge of beating both Australia and New Zealand – who competed in the Melbourne final on March 29 – is quite remarkable and a huge testament to the manner in which things have changed under Trevor Bayliss.
Certainly, there is much more confidence about this group than those who flopped so horribly in the World Cup and Morgan admits a winning habit has been key.
He said: “I would be naive to think we could grow as a side if we keep losing, it has to be a factor in order for us to grow as a team. We have had a little bit of success this summer and hope that continues because I think it will accelerate our learning.
“The main thing is we are focused on this series, we have earned the right to go into a decider on Sunday.”
One slight consolation for the tourists in yesterday’s defeat came via the performance of Maxwell. Not only did the 26-year-old hit 85, he also took two wonderful catches.
The second of those to dismiss Liam Plunkett will live long in the memory of a capacity crowd as Yorkshire’s overseas star showed incredible presence of mind to take a catch right on the boundary rope.