England has it easy against Ireland

England made quick work of beating Ireland by seven wickets to win the first One-Day International at Bristol on Friday and so go 1-0 up in the two-match series.

Alex Hales plays a shot against Ireland in Bristol on Friday.   -  REUTERS

Adil Rashid returned the second-best figures by an England spinner in a One-Day International (ODI) as the host eased to a seven-wicket win in its series opener against Ireland at Bristol on Friday.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Victory saw England go 1-0 up in the two-match contest ahead of Sunday's showpiece clash at Lord's. Leg-spinner Rashid took five for 27 as Ireland collapsed to 126 all out after visiting captain William Porterfield won the toss.

Andrew Balbirnie top-scored with 30 in an innings where only openers Ed Joyce (23) and Paul Stirling (20) got to 20. Rashid's return was second only to that of off-spinner Vic Marks's five for 20, against New Zealand at Wellington in 1984, by a specialist England slow bowler at this level.

England, set just 127 to win, lost Jason Roy for a duck in the first over of its reply when he flicked Peter Chase off his pads to George Dockrell at midwicket. Fellow opener Alex Hales was then dropped on nought, Middlesex quick Tim Murtagh failing to hold a tough caught-and-bowled chance.

Hales went to make a quickfire 55 that stopped any thought of a stunning upset in its tracks.

Both Hales and Ireland-born England captain Eoin Morgan holed out off Chase, the only Ireland bowler to take wickets in a return of three for 44. But there was never any chance of England losing, with Test captain Joe Root finishing on 49 not out.

Ireland's first international against England in England was desperately disappointing for the visitor, which could be granted Test status next month. But its recent 7-2 reverse across three formats against fellow Test aspirant Afghanistan in India was an indication of how the current side is struggling to match the standards of Irish teams that beat Test nations at several World Cups.

Spin struggles continue

Porterfield said on Thursday that teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan had been the difference in his team's defeats by Afghanistan. Fellow leg-spinner Rashid caused Ireland fresh embarrassment as several batsmen played poor shots against the Yorkshireman.

Ireland was making steady progress at 81 for two but lost its last eight wickets for 45 runs as it was dismissed with a mammoth 17 overs to spare. Yet after Porterfield won the toss, English county batsmen Joyce (Sussex) and Stirling (Middlesex) made a solid start.

Stirling's runs came courtesy of five fours before he was bowled middle stump by paceman Mark Wood. Ireland was now 40 for one in the sixth over and soon afterwards Joyce was lbw to David Willey. A third-wicket stand of 35 between Porterfield and Balbirnie followed but there was no stopping the collapse once it started.

Balbirnie's loose edge off Jake Ball was well caught by Sam Billings, keeping wicket instead of Test gloveman Jonny Bairstow, going to his right. Warwickshire batsman Porterfield's sluggish 13 off 45 balls ended when he tamely chipped part-time off-spinner Root's second ball to mid-off.

Gary Wilson (one) was then lbw to Rashid to leave Ireland 93 for five. Six years ago, Kevin O'Brien rescued Ireland from a similarly dire position of 111 for five with the fastest ever World Cup hundred as his blistering 113 set up a memorable win over England in Bengaluru.

But he has come nowhere near those heights since and he was lbw for four, failing to pick Rashid's googly. And when Rashid had Murtagh caught in the deep, Ireland was all out in a mere 33 overs.

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