May 8, 2015
Start time 10.45am (0945 GMT)
The UK is going to the polls but the outcome is likely to be weeks of uncertainty and procedural wrangling. Although we will have an idea of the results by the time Ireland and England begin their match in Dublin on Friday morning, the bargaining to form a government and choose a Prime Minister will have only just begun. If only it were as simple as a small committee of people identifying and appointing the right man for the job.
Then again, maybe that isn't such a straightforward process. A year ago, Peter Moores was about to take charge of England for the second time, starting with a bedraggled ODI in Aberdeen, having been declared "the outstanding coach of his generation" by Paul Downton, then England's managing director. Now, with Andrew Strauss reportedly being measured up as Downton's replacement in a new role as director of cricket, Moores has been forced to appeal for more time to finish the job; he might have some sympathy for David Cameron.
Defeat to Ireland will probably not swing things either way for Moores, particularly as England have picked a young and experimental squad, but after a harrowing World Cup and the failure to win in the West Indies, his ratings are once again dangerously low. According to some, the votes may already have been cast. Nevertheless, Moores has flown straight from Barbados via Gatwick to take charge of things in Dublin.
England's squad is one for the future while Ireland are about to begin life under a new regime. John Bracewell will not take his place at the dispatch box across from Moores, as he is awaiting a work permit, but the New Zealander will be there in an observational capacity as Ireland target a first home win over England. The squad is much the same as that which did markedly better than England at the World Cup and, should the weather cooperate, there is the prospect of another big crowd to barrack from the back benches.
Two years ago, England needed centuries from Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara to secure victory at Malahide, after Ireland had reduced them to 48 for 4 in pursuit of 270. This time both are at the IPL - where Morgan, England's captain that day and at the World Cup, has just made his first significant score for Sunrisers Hyderabad - and Niall O'Brien has gone as far as to suggest Ireland are favourites. In Friday's tightly contested marginal, England might rue the absence of their big beasts; whatever the result, Moores could still be short of a majority.
Ireland LLWLW (most recent first)
In the spotlight
Ireland's XI is so settled that they are likely to field nine players who took part in their famous World Cup win in Bangalore four years ago. Less has been seen of Andy Balbirnie but the elegant Middlesex batsman looks likely to become another fixture in the middle order. He made his maiden ODI half-century against South Africa at the recent World Cup and then helped set up victory over Zimbabwe with 97.
England have selected a clutch of talented tyros for this match and the sight of James Vince, Sam Billings and David Willey in one-day colours will enthuse many. Perhaps more significant than the debutants will be a return to international competition for Adil Rashid, who is likely to win his first cap since 2009. With current spin resources severely depleted, a bright display from Yorkshire's one-time future star would strengthen England's hand for the challenges to come.
The loss of Tim Murtagh to injury is a blow - he took 3 for 33 two years ago - but Ireland will otherwise be able to send out their best XI. Whether that includes Craig Young or the more all-round talents of Stuart Thompson - or even another spinner in Andy McBrine - may depend on the pitch. William Porterfield, meanwhile, is set to captain Ireland for the 200th time.
Ireland (possible) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Niall O'Brien, 5 Andy Balbirnie, 6 Gary Wilson (wk), 7 Kevin O'Brien, 8 John Mooney, 9 George Dockrell, 10 Alex Cusack, 11 Craig Young/Stuart Thompson
James Taylor is set to lead England for the first time and there will be at least five ODI debutants in the side. Jonny Bairstow was named as wicketkeeper in the original squad but Billings is more than capable of playing as a specialist batsman. Zafar Ansari could miss out if Rashid, as expected, fills the spinner's brief, while Somerset's seam-bowling allrounder Lewis Gregory is the other option in the 13.
England (possible) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 James Vince, 4 James Taylor (capt), 5 Sam Billings, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 David Willey, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Tim Bresnan, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Mark Wood.
Pitch and conditions
The surface at Malahide has previously provided a good contest between bat and ball, although this is the first time an ODI has been played there in May. A green pitch would not be surprising, although the sun has been shining in Dublin. That might change, however, with rain forecast for Friday afternoon.
Stats and trivia
- Ireland and England have met six times previously in ODIs, with Ireland winning once, at the 2011 World Cup
- England have played four times in Ireland - twice in Belfast and twice in Dublin - and never lost
- The last time England played five debutants in an ODI was against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 1996; their record, other than in the first-ever ODI, is the six fielded against West Indies at Headingley in 1973 (courtesy of Ask Steven)
- Tim Bresnan is the most experienced member of England's squad, with 84 caps; the rest have 94 between them. Ireland's 13 men have played in a combined total of 609 ODIs.
"A lot of these guys thought they probably should have been at the World Cup - and to be honest, when you look at the strategy that was needed there, a lot of them perhaps should have been. They've got some big points to prove, and justify their case. So I don't think they'll be a soft target, that's for sure."
John Bracewell said that this England side is closer to the one that should have been in Australia and New Zealand
"It is an important game for everybody, not just Peter Moores. The whole team are right behind him, and it's up to the individuals now to put in a match-winning performance in the middle."
England's newest ODI captain James Taylor hopes to give the coach some respite
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick