Joe Root starred as England sealed a series whitewash over Ireland in their two-match one-day international contest courtesy of an 85-run win at Lord’s.
Root scored 73 in a partnership of 140 with Eoin Morgan (76) before Jonny Bairstow’s rapid 72 propelled England to 328-6 at the home of cricket.
Paul Stirling struck 48 but Root’s 3-52 swung the game the home side’s way.
Will Porterfield (82) gave Ireland a glimmer of hope but his dismissal spelt the end and they were all out for 241.
Root’s Yorkshire team-mate Liam Plunkett helped clean up the tail and ended up with figures of 3-21.
However, it was a much-improved display from the tourists after Friday’s seven-wicket defeat in Bristol in front of a healthy away following and one they can use as further proof of their suitability for Test status.
- England deservedly Champions Trophy favourites – Swann
- Relive England’s victory over Ireland at Lord’s
Root the form man
After Friday’s first ODI, England captain Eoin Morgan spoke of the need for his players to find form before June’s Champions Trophy on home soil, for which England are currently bookmakers’ favourites.
He has no worries over Root, who scored at a run a ball during his innings, the majority of which was spent in a partnership with his equally efficient skipper, and retains the ability to take timely wickets with his seemingly innocuous off-spin.
Following the loss of Hales and Roy, who is England’s biggest concern after adding an unconvincing 20 to his fifth-ball duck in Bristol, Root and Morgan took England past 200 before both fell in the space of three overs.
A brief lull followed, during which England also lost Sam Billings, before Bairstow and Adil Rashid (39) restored the momentum and pushed the score past 300.
Bairstow presses case for regular inclusion
Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow is a fixture in the Test side but has failed to nail down a regular spot in what is a congested England limited-overs middle order.
However, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler both at the IPL, the 26-year-old was given an opportunity to excel that he did not waste.
Demonstrating the clean-hitting that had seen him score a 113-ball 174 for Yorkshire in a recent One-Day Cup win over Durham, Bairstow took over from county colleague Root, acclimatised quickly and then accelerated to propel England beyond a 300 total that had previously looked in doubt.
It took him 38 balls to reach his fourth ODI 50 before fully cutting loose, adding another 22 runs in just six deliveries that included three big sixes.
With the three-game home series against South Africa to come later this month, before the start of the Champions Trophy, Bairstow is providing England with a nice selection dilemma to resolve.
Ireland restore some pride
Ireland have had a bad couple of months, during which they have lost a one-day series and an ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture to chief rival associate nation Afghanistan, and both games in this series.
In Bristol, they looked weighed down by what coach John Bracewell described as the “huge pressure” of the impending decision over their potential Test status, which should be made next month.
However, they played with greater freedom and application on Sunday, rising to the challenge of their first encounter against England at Lord’s.
They were energetic in the field but unfortunately lack bowling depth beyond Tim Murtagh, who used his experience of Lord’s from 10 years as a Middlesex player to keep England in check, especially in an initial spell of 1-16 off his opening six overs.
Barry McCarthy (2-61) and Peter Chase (2-69) had their moments but lacked consistency and wilted under Bairstow’s late onslaught.
The lack of depth is mirrored in their batting. Stirling, Joyce and Porterfield are a talented top three but as England have shown over two games, there is little below them.
Stirling and Joyce (16) added 68 for the opening wicket but both fell in the space of two and a half overs, the former to Jake Ball and the latter to Root, who would also claim the wickets of Niall O’Brien and Gary Wilson to help reduce Ireland to 154-5.
Porterfield’s clean striking carried the tourists past 200 until he was bowled by Mark Wood attempting a ramp shot, leaving the Durham seamer and Plunkett to clean up the tail.
‘Sterner tests to come’ – What they said…
England coach Trevor Bayliss, speaking to Sky Sports: “We know we have sterner tests coming up, against South Africa and in the Champions Trophy. We can do no more than play and win well.
“We will go into the three games against South Africa wanting to win that series. If we are 2-0 up with a game to go we will look at the team then.”
England captain Eoin Morgan: “Bristol was a more convincing win and today presented us with different challenges.
“There was some cloud cover this morning and the openers got us off to a fantastic start. I shared in a good partnership with Joe Root and then Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid saw us home after a little wobble.”
Ireland captain Will Porterfield: “I thought we were much improved today.
“We put a lot of things right – we bowled well and kept going when the big partnership got going and it took Jonny Bairstow to play well to get them to that big total.
“I think with the bat we were just a couple of wickets behind and that stopped us going for it at the end.”
‘8.5 out of 10 from England’
Ex-England spinner Graeme Swann on BBC Test Match Special: “It’s been a very professional performance from England. They haven’t taken their foot off the gas at any point in the series. 8.5/10 from England.”
Ex-England batter Ebony Rainford-Brent on BBC Test Match Special: “I’m not sure England can take too much out of this series. It’s good to see Bairstow play the way he does – but we know he’s a quality player – and it’s good to see Wood back. Perhaps I’d like to have seen more from him? But there’s not much more we didn’t already know.”