IRELAND BEATEN ON HISTORIC DAY AT LORD’S
Ireland’s first ODI at Lords ended in an 85-run defeat against England this afternoon but players and supporters left the home of cricket with heads held high after an improved effort from William Porterfield’s side. Having been heavily outpointed at Bristol in the first game of this best of two series this was certainly better from the visitors as 24,000 spectators were treated to a much more competitive contest.
Chasing a formidable 329 to win, Paul Stirling gave Ireland supporters real hope in the reply with a typically swashbuckling start. Stirling of course knows this ground better than any from his time at Middlesex and he dominated a first wicket stand of 68 with Ed Joyce.
Stirling’s share of that was 48 and included 8 fours and a six, but just as in the first game, once Ireland lost a wicket, more soon followed. The Belfast man was finally given out on review after being caught behind by Sam Billings off the bowling of Jake Ball and that started something of a slump. Joyce was next to go bowled by a quicker one from Joe Root for 16 before Andy Balbirnie was rather harsly adjudged lbw to Liam Plunkett for 2.
All of a sudden 68-0 was 87-3 as England’s bowlers applied the brakes but skipper Porterfield was looking back to his best at the other end. Wickets kept falling around him however; Niall O’Brien (15), Gary Wilson (13) and Kevin O’Brien (18) all coming and going too quickly for the visitors to make real inroads into the total.
With Porterfield in the middle there was always a slim chance but once the Warwickshire batsman was bowled by Mark Wood for an excellent 82, the game was up. The skipper hit 6 fours and a six in his knock and although George Dockrell added a late, career-best 28, that was to be it.
To their credit the Irish lads worked much better with the spin of Adil Rashid this time keeping him to 1-68 from his 10 overs, however the damage was done by Plunkett (3-23) and Root (3-52) with Wood (2-38) tidying up.
All the England batsmen were among the runs in their combative total; skipper Eoin Morgan leading the way against his former team-mates as he made 76. Morgan and Joe Root posted a 3rd wicket stand of 140 after Tim Murtagh and Barry McCarthy had earlier seen off openers Alex Hales (32) and Jason Roy (20) respectively.
Morgan hit 5 fours and 2 sixes in his 79-ball knock while Root managed 8 fours in an even-time 73 before both fell in quick succession. Root was caught on the drive by Balbirnie while his captain fell to a cracking catch from Joyce off McCarthy; Ireland’s excellent display in the field itself a major improvement from Friday’s defeat.
The real fireworks however were still to come as Johnny Bairstow treated spectators to some entertaining strokes- the keeper/batsman hitting 7 fours and 3 sixes on his way to a 44-ball unbeaten 72. Bairstow shared a stand worth 88 in less than 8 overs with Ireland’s tormentor-in-chief from Bristol, Rashid, who made 39.
The home side pressed the accelerator late on just as Ireland looked like keeping the target respectable- 61 runs coming in the last four overs to take the wind out of the visitors’ sails.
A 2-0 win for England then and while Sunday was probably as much about the occasion as the game, Ireland did show that they have plenty still to bring to the table should their enhanced status be confirmed next month.
It’s a quick turnaround for John Bracewell’s charges now with a tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh in Dublin starting on Friday.
At Lords, England beat Ireland by 85 runs
England 328-6 (50 overs; E Morgan 76, J Root 73, J Bairstow 72*, A Rashid 39, A Hales 32, J Roy 20, B McCarthy 2-61, P Chase 2-69)
Ireland 243 all out (46.1 overs: W Porterfield 82, P Stirling 48, G Dockrell 28, L Plunkett 3-23, J Root 3-52, M Wood 2-38)