From Rashid Khan to Adil Rashid, legspin was again Ireland’s nemesis as they were bundled out for 126 in their historic first ODI on English soil. Rashid claimed a career-best 5 for 27, the second-best figures by an England spinner in ODIs, to set up a seven-wicket trouncing at the beginning of their final preparations for the Champions Trophy.
Alex Hales took advantage of two reprieves with a 33-ball fifty and the main challenge for England was whether they would complete victory before the interval was needed. The umpires allowed the extra 15 minutes of play available with a result close and a flurry of boundaries from Joe Root, who finished unbeaten on 49, and Jonny Bairstow meant the match was completed in barely more than half the allotted overs.
In the build-up to the match, Ireland captain William Porterfield had said that Rashid Khan had been the difference during their recent struggles against Afghanistan. Conditions in Bristol were a world away from India where those games took place, but there was a jarring similarity to their downfall.
England’s Rashid had been given the nod as their frontline spinner ahead of Moeen Ali for the first match of the summer and though he will come up against far tougher resistance in the months to come, it was a more-than-handy start for a player who relies hugely on confidence. He caused havoc with his googly while Joe Root chipped in with 2 for 9 as the spinners stole the show from the quicks; the seven combined wickets are the most by England spinners in a home ODI.
From 81 for 2, after Porterfield had chosen to bat first, Ireland lost 8 for 45 to be bundled out with 17 overs unused. They have been open in accepting their side is going through a transition – unfortunately at a time when more international opportunities, including Test cricket, are on the doorstep – but this performance will have been a huge disappointment given that their batting is viewed as the stronger suit.
It was a lively start with Paul Stirling clubbing his way to 20 with five boundaries – including three in a row off David Willey – but England were settled by the returning Mark Wood who speared an 89-mph delivery through an expansive drive. Eoin Morgan said yesterday that Wood was still working his way back towards top gear, but his opening five-over spell was an encouraging start for a man viewed as vital to England’s Champions Trophy hopes.
Willey had proved expensive but struck back when Ed Joyce fell across a straight delivery that would have taken leg stump and the two quick wickets forced Ireland to take stock.—AFP