Bullish Ireland aim for upset
August 25, Dublin
Start time 1015 (0915 GMT)
It's been almost six months since Ireland's historic win over England on a balmy evening in Bangalore, and though the Irish won many hearts with their plucky performance at the World Cup, they will be impatient to further their cause in a rare outing against top-drawer opposition.
Or, not quite top-draw, as England are using the match as a chance to give their seniors a well-earned rest and offer the next generation an audition ahead of the ODIs against India. That decision has taken some of the gloss off the encounter - as well as ruffling a few feathers across the Irish Sea - but although the Clontarf ground in Dublin is a world away from the Chinnaswamy, Ireland won't need much geeing up to play whatever England XI turns up.
In the event, it will be none other than the Dublin-born Eoin Morgan who returns to his home town to captain, for the first time, an England outfit that includes several promising youngsters. Leicestershire's James Taylor, Yorkshire's Jonathan Bairstow and Durham's Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick all recently featured in the England Lions' ODI series win over Sri Lanka A. The likes of Steven Finn, Ravi Bopara, Graham Onions, Craig Kieswetter and Samit Patel will also all recognise this game as an opportunity to move from the fringes to the centre of the England set-up.
While England's focus has been on their ascent to the top of the Test world, Ireland have enjoyed mixed results this summer, slipping up badly against Pakistan in May, when they were shot out for 97 in the first ODI at Stormont. Paul Stirling's run-a-ball century helped them give a better account of themselves in a five-wicket loss at the same venue two days later, and he was at it again in July against Scotland with a rollicking 113 that included six sixes in Edinburgh.
That innings helped Stirling leapfrog Netherland's Ryan ten Doeschate as the top-ranked Associate batsman (Stirling rose to a career-best 16th in the world), and his efforts will once again be vital to the Irish cause. With Will Porterfield, Ed Joyce and the O'Briens in their ranks, however, batting is Ireland's strong suit and of far more concern for them will be a bowling line-up that relies heavily on the success of the senior seamers.
The fact that a couple of young Irish players - Stirling, George Dockrell and Boyd Rankin, who made his England Lions debut against Sri Lanka A - are beginning to show up on England's radar adds an extra dimension to this one-off game, as does the fact that both teams are captained by Irishmen.
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlight
The 20-year-old Paul Stirling is the most promising young batsman in Ireland, and their top-ranked player in ODIs. He's also been in eye-catching form this summer, slamming hundreds against Pakistan and Scotland, and comes into this game fresh from an 81-ball 109 against Derbyshire at Chesterfield. If he fires, the rest of the line-up can bat around him and almost no total will be safe.
James Taylor has been earmarked for future honours from a young age, and though he's still only 21 there's a real buzz starting to form around the diminutive middle-order batsman. And rightly so. Four hundreds, two of them for the Lions against Sri Lanka A, and three fifties in his last 10 innings have brought him an England debut and should he give a good account of himself in this game a regular spot in the national side is the next step.
There's been an encouraging continuity to Ireland's selections in recent years and Andre Botha, who retired following the World Cup, is the only player from the 15-man group that travelled to the subcontinent missing from the squad for this match. There is, however, an injury concern over veteran seamer Trent Johnston. Given the paucity of quality seamers in the Ireland group, if Johnston is anywhere close to fit, he'll get a game.
Ireland: (possible) 1 Will Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien (wk), 5 Gary Wilson, 6 Kevin O'Brien, 7 Alex Cusack, 8 Trent Johnston, 9 John Mooney, 10 George Dockrell, 11 Boyd Rankin.
The experimental nature of England's touring party makes it very hard to pick a starting XI, or decide who will slot in where, but Craig Kieswetter should get the gloves ahead of Jonny Bairstow, and is likely to have Jonathan Trott as his opening partner. The group contains several promising allrounders, giving Morgan options with both spin and seam and meaning that it could be Steven Finn who sits out.
England: (possible) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Jonathan Trott, 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 James Taylor, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Scott Borthwick, 10 Jade Dernbach, 11 Graham Onions.
Pitch and conditions
While the weather has been set fair in the lead-up to this game, but conditions should still encourage the seamers, especially with the new ball. Clontarf is a compact ground, however, and batsmen may find the short boundaries to their liking once set. There's a chance of showers on the day, but there should almost certainly be enough play for a result.
Stats and trivia
- England and Ireland have met just four times in ODIs, Ireland's three-wicket triumph in Bangalore their only win.
- Ireland did, however, come very close to overpowering England in Belfast in 2009, losing a rain-reduced match by 3 runs after Eoin Morgan - who had come onto the field as a substitute for Graeme Swann - pulled off an incredible piece of fielding on the long-on boundary to intercept a six from the penultimate ball of the chase.
- Jonathan Trott made his ODI debut in that game.
- Paul Stirling is Ireland's third-highest runscorer in ODIs, and also has the leading batting average - 42.48 - for his team.
"I'll be tossing the coin against a mate, but also against England in a one-day international so it doesn't matter who it is."
Will Porterfield has known Eoin Morgan since the pair were 10 years old, but their friendship will be put to one side once they're on the field as opposing captains
""I'm absolutely not nervous, I'm looking forward to it."
Eoin Morgan insists he is more than ready to take the next step in his England career
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo