Morgan praises Stokes' comeback performance

Ben Stokes delivered a solid, if unspectacular, performance on his return to international cricket, and Eoin Morgan was happy with him.

Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan   -  Getty Images

Eoin Morgan praised the bowling performance of Ben Stokes after the all-rounder made his England return in Sunday's defeat to New Zealand.

Playing his first international since the ODI series with West Indies in September last year, Stokes delivered figures of 2-43 from eight overs, having made a 22-ball 12 in England's 284-8 at Seddon Park, but New Zealand chased their victory target down with four balls to spare.

Stokes had initially looked like sparking an unlikely win when he broke a crucial 178-run stand between Tom Latham (79) and man-of-the-match Ross Taylor, who went on to score 113, but Mitchell Santner's (45 off 27) lower-order heroics got the Black Caps over the line.

Although his team now need to respond after going 1-0 down in the five-match series, captain Morgan saw plenty to get excited about in his star all-rounder.

"I'm really pleased," Morgan said. "I thought he [Stokes] adapted to conditions perfectly well, using slower balls well.

"He's delighted to be back – he's told everybody that.

"It's an awesome feeling, when you've been away and you're back in a fun environment, with lots of good friends around. I can vouch for that.

"I spend a lot of time away while the Tests are on. You come back, and it puts a smile on your face."

The partnership between Latham and Taylor was a source of particular joy for Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson.

"England had a competitive total and it required some skilful batting to get over the line - and we certainly saw that with the partnership between Tom Latham and Ross Taylor," said Williamson.

"It was a very good game of cricket - a very even game of cricket. Credit to England - it was a very tough game that ebbed and flowed. It's nice to get over the line."

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