England began their Champions Trophy preparations with an emphatic seven-wicket win in their first home international match against Ireland on Friday 05th May. The tourists fell apart after a good start, losing their last eight wickets for 45 as Adil Rashid’s 5-27 helped dismiss them for 126.

England’s reply was off to a poor start as Jason Roy was caught without scoring. But a typically brutal 55 from Alex Hales and an unbeaten 49 from Joe Root saw England home with 30 overs left.

On a placid pitch at sunny Bristol, it initially appeared to a good toss to win for Ireland, as the aggressive Paul Stirling and efficient Ed Joyce added a quick-fire 40 for the opening wicket. But England, without IPL trio Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler, halted their progress with the dismissal of both openers in quick succession. Mark Wood, who made a comeback after playing his last ODI in September and was out of action due to an ankle surgery, bowled Stirling before David Willey trapped Joyce lbw.

From that platform, the home side spun the game decisively in their favour, with Rashid the star turn. That was his first five-for in ODIs and the second-best figures by an English spinner in the format.

The second and final ODI of the series is at Lord’s on Sunday at 11:00 BST.

TEAM COMPOSITION:

If Rashid was a slight surprise as England’s solitary spinner in Bristol, he more than justified his selection with five skilfully worked wickets, as Ireland’s blind spot for leg-spin was ruthlessly exploited once again. Morgan had justified Rashid’s selection ahead of Moeen Ali by pointing out his ability to turn the ball both ways.

Ireland played the extra batsman at Bristol, but that didn’t exactly pay dividends, as they crumbled to 126 all out in 33 overs. The question is whether to stick or twist – keep the same balance in the hope that they’ll come up with the goods now that they’ve got their stage fright out of the way, or reinforce their bowling in a bid to rein in England’s ambitions. They may be forced into a change, with John Anderson added to the squad as cover for Niall O’Brien, who has a finger injury. Though Peter Chase provided a crumb of comfort with all three wickets at Bristol, it’s hard to see England’s batting line-up easing off the accelerator as they head for their most familiar venue.

PROBABLE XI:

England:  Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root,  Eoin Morgan (capt),  Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid,  David Willey,  Liam Plunkett,  Jake Ball,  Mark Wood

Ireland:  William Porterfield (capt), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Andy Balbirnie, Niall O’Brien (wk), Gary Wilson, Kevin O’Brien,  Stuart Thompson,  George Dockrell,  Tim Murtagh,  Peter Chase

STATS :

  1. Kevin O’Brien, who did not bowl in Bristol, but claimed seven wickets in his previous two ODIs against Afghanistan, needs 3 more  to reach 100 ODI wickets
  2. Joe Root, who finished unbeaten on 49 at Bristol, has scored 240 runs for once out in his last three ODIs, following scores of 90* and 101 against West Indies in Antigua in March.

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