England wrapped up the Royal London Series against Ireland, with a four-wicket victory on Saturday at the Ageas Bowl.
England were indebted to a sparkling knock from Jonny Bairstow of 82 from 41 balls. The hosts had to overcome a middle order wobble before moving into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Ireland recovered well from 78-5 to post a total of 212-9 in their 50 overs. England eventually reached their target with 17 overs to spare after fine innings from David Willey 47* and Sam Billings 46*.
Welcome return for Topley after four years out
England made one change from the side that defeated the Irish on Thursday with Reece Topley in for Tom Curran. Ireland brought in Josh Little in place of Barry McCartay.
Ireland won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that was used for Thursday’s international.
Ireland’s top order struggle once again
Just like two days ago they soon found themselves in trouble after slumping to 39-3. Willey picked up where he left of from a couple of days ago by picking up two early wickets.
Local Hampshire player James Vince on his home ground claimed his first international wicket of Andrew Balbirnie for 15. It was then the turn of Adil Rashid to tie Ireland up in knots. The leg spinner bowled Kevin O’Brien with his sixth delivery and then bagged the wickets of Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker.
Ireland rescued again by Campher
Ireland were tottering at 91-6 but were rescued by a solid innings from the impressive Curtis Campher. The youngster who was born in South Africa but holds an Irish passport impressed once again.
He dug Ireland out of trouble with an unbeaten 68- his second consecutive half century. He was ably assisted by Andy McBrine in a partnership of 56 for the ninth wicket. Their total of 212 always looked short of a par score and so it proved.
The pick of England’s bowling attack was Rashid who finished with fine figures of 3-34 in his ten overs. Topley on his return to international cricket after four years out due to injuries also impressed.
England lost Jason Roy for a duck to the third delivery of the innings. Bairstow and Vince then put on 71 for the second wicket when Campher bowled Vince for 16. The talented 21-year-old continued his excellent work for the day by trapping Tom Banton leg before for 15. It was down to Bairstow to rally England with a superb knock before Josh Little came on and gave Ireland hope.
Little brings hope to the men in green
The left armer from Dublin picked up the wickets of Bairstow, Morgan and Ali in the space of six balls. The men in green were right back in the game and England were wobbling.
England were thankful to Billings and Willey with a partnership of 79 to see them home.
The third and final match of the series is on Tuesday at the Ageas Bowl with a 2 pm start.