England spinner Jack Leach’s comeback game following a finger injury ended in more pain as he suffered a concussion during Somerset’s innings defeat to Surrey in the County Championship.
Somerset became the second team in county cricket to enforce the new ruling regarding ‘concussion substitute’ after Leach was hit on the head by South African pacer Morne Morkel during the first innings. Leach continued to bat as Ryan Patel finished with figures of 6-5 and forced Somerset to follow on.
Somerset fared no better in their second outing after trailing Surrey’s 459 by 279 runs. They were bowled out for 210 in Guildford with Leach unable to bat and Max Waller used as the concussion substitute.
It was Leach’s comeback match after a finger injury ruled him out of England’s Test series against Pakistan and Somerset’s county game against the Notts.
Earlier, Lancashire employed Danny Lamb as a substitute for Joe Mennie in their game against Worcestershire after Mennie was hit on the head by a straight shot from Martin Guptill.
Jason Roy smashed a century as England chased down 311 inside 45 overs after scoring a world-record 481-6 in the third match of the series.
“If it does become the ‘normal’, that would be awesome because it creates an unbelievable tone at the top of the order,” Morgan said of the England top three.
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Eoin Morgan hopes England have established a ‘new normal’ after again overpowering Australia to put themselves on the verge of an unprecedented 5-0 one-day international whitewash of their Ashes rivals.
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 hundred in under a week.
He and Jonny Bairstow (79) 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.”
Number 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.”
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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!”