Lions make tame progress
Skipper Morgan hits an even 50 before falling to Johnson
Last Updated: August 8, 2012 6:54pm
Eoin Morgan: hit a half-century once play got underway at Old Trafford
England Lions limped along to 140-4 in the 66 overs of play that were possible on the opening day of their clash with Australia A at Old Trafford.
Skipper Eoin Morgan made an even 50 and Nick Compton weighed in with 46 at the top of the order after the morning session had been lost to rain.
The unofficial Test - the first of two games between the second-string line-ups of the Ashes rivals - offered an opportunity for plenty of players to push their international claims.
However Ravi Bopara was not amongst them, the Essex batsman withdrawing from a game that he had only been called up for on Sunday.
Australia fielded a team that included four players with Test experience, Mitchell Johnson amongst them.
The left-arm paceman did not take long to make an impression on the Lions, removing opener Joe Root for six when the Yorkshireman gloved a superb short delivery through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Compton and Morgan - two men who could be candidates to fill the sizeable void in the England middle order should Kevin Pietersen announce his retirement from Test cricket - came together to put on 79.
The partnership eventually came to an end when Compton was beaten in the flight by off-spinner Nathan Lyon and gave a simple return catch to the bowler.
Jonny Bairstow laboured 37 deliveries to make eight and even the normally free-scoring Morgan was sedate by his standard, taking 119 balls to reach his half-century.
The Irishman failed to add another run after reaching his milestone, a leading edge off Johnson giving the easiest of catches to Jon Holland at mid-on.
But Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel made sure the Lions suffered no further losses before close of play, finishing up unbeaten on 13 and 15 respectively.