Wednesday 22 November 2017

Loss leaves Irish in a spin ahead of Lord's date

Niall O’Brien walks off after being dismissed by England’s Adil Rashid during the first One-Day International in Bristol yesterday. Photo: PA
Niall O’Brien walks off after being dismissed by England’s Adil Rashid during the first One-Day International in Bristol yesterday. Photo: PA

David Townsend

William Porterfield tried to put a brave face on Ireland's latest setback yesterday but his claim that the Boys in Green could turn things around in time for tomorrow's showpiece at Lord's sounded hollow after a thumping seven-wicket defeat by England.

The Ireland skipper could offer no valid excuse - and didn't attempt to - after his side collapsed from 81-2 to be bowled out for 126 in 33 overs on a good batting pitch, ensuring an early end to the first ODI between the two sides on English soil.

That the main tormentor was a leg-spinner called Rashid, who took 5-27 as he laid waste to the middle and lower order, was nothing new but this was Adil Rashid, of Yorkshire, not the demon Rashid Khan who claimed 33 Irish wickets in nine matches for Afghanistan in March.

Ireland's openers started brightly, adding 40 in 5.4 overs, but once Paul Stirling was bowled for 20, and Ed Joyce followed lbw for 23 in the next over, only Andy Balbirnie looked in any sort of touch - and two of his four boundaries came via edges, in a top score of 30. "We know Adil's going to bowl a lot of googlies, that's what he does, especially to left-handers," Porterfield said. "It's probably his predominant wicket-taking ball, it's nothing new. We just have to play it a lot better.

"We started off pretty positively, after winning the toss. The way the two openers went about it was good but then we lost two wickets in two overs and we just couldn't get a partnership going after that. It's something we have to address before Lord's."

What must be a concern for Porterfield and under-pressure coach John Bracewell is that after a month of facing a far superior leg-spinner, the Ireland batsmen had little or no clue how to play the watered-down threat of Adil.

One tiny ray of Irish sunshine came in the bowling of Peter Chase who picked up the wicket of Jason Roy with his fourth ball and followed up by dismissing Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan for figures of 3-44 in eight overs, as England eased to victory in just 20 overs.

The several thousand Ireland fans in the near-capacity crowd deserved more than to be heading home before three o'clock and Porterfield knows his side must put up a far better fight in their historic visit to 'Headquarters'.

"We've had a fantastic support here and there'll be even more numbers come over for Lord's," he said. "You want to entertain and you want to give your home fans something to cheer about, especially when they travel and come out in big numbers.

"You don't become bad players overnight. Playing one bad game - having one bad day at the office - doesn't make us a bad team. Losing the way we did isn't ideal but it's just a mental thing to turn it around - we'll have an open and honest review and park it here."

One bad day at the office is acceptable; this has been a bad 15 months for Ireland.

England v Ireland, live,

Sky Sports 2, 11.0 tomorrow

Irish Independent

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