Jonny Bairstow served further notice of his determination to force his way into the starting XI for the Champions Trophy, as his violent 72 not out from 44 balls built on a third-wicket stand of 140 between Eoin Morgan and Joe Root to put England out of sight in an entertaining but ultimately one-sided second ODI against Ireland at Lord's.
Bairstow's knock, which featured seven fours and a trio of mown sixes from his final five balls, proved the difference between a chaseable total and an unobtainable one for Ireland's cricketers. Set a daunting 329 to square the series - 203 more runs than they had mustered in Friday's seven-wicket defeat at Bristol - they started with impressive intent thanks to Paul Stirling's 48 from 42 balls, but fell away in the middle overs, in spite of a fighting half-century from the captain Will Porterfield, to finish on 243.
Regardless of the final margin of victory, it was a vastly improved showing from Ireland, who rose to the occasion of their first ODI appearance at Lord's by keeping their focus with bat and ball, only to be outclassed at crucial junctures, most notably when Adil Rashid joined Bairstow for a slap-happy sixth-wicket stand of 88 in 7.4 overs that took the contest out of their reach.
Fresh from their humiliation at Bristol, Ireland's decision to bowl first on winning the toss had been greeted with ironic cheers by a sizeable Lord's crowd, but under overcast skies, and armed with precisely the type of nibbly seamers who might be expected to thrive in such conditions, it was more than just a defensive decision from Porterfield.
Sure enough, the Middlesex veteran, Tim Murtagh led the way with an exemplary first spell of County Championship-standard line and length. He conceded just two boundaries in his first six overs, a drive apiece to Jason Roy and Alex Hales, who were forced to make hay at the Pavilion End instead, in adding 49 for the first wicket in the first 11 overs.
Hales, in particular, resumed his aggressive approach following his match-sealing fifty at Bristol, but he was comprehensively out-thought in the end by Murtagh, who nipped one back up the slope to bowl him through the gate for 32 from 35 balls. And, when Roy leaned a touch too eagerly into Barry McCarthy's fourth delivery of the day, for Stirling to cling on to a sharp chance in front of his face at short cover, England were 60 for 2 in the 13th over - the sort of scoreline that could easily have unravelled with a few false strokes in such conditions.
Morgan, however, quickly showed he was in no mood to second-guess himself, by dancing out of his crease to the fifth ball he received, from Kevin O'Brien, and slapping the first six of the innings towards the pavilion benches. Another six, this time off the left-arm spin of George Dockrell, kept Morgan ticking along, although he then had a major slice of luck when Stirling snaked an offbreak through the batsman's legs and into the base of the stumps without dislodging a bail.
At the other end, it was just another day at the office for Root, a batsman who has now scored 333 runs in his past four ODIs, following scores of 90 not out and 101 in the Caribbean in March. Once again, Root's ability to keep the strike ticking over was a fundamental part of his success, but so too was his eye for a boundary in the middle overs of the innings, as he picked off eight in total, including a dinky reverse-dab off Dockrell that hopped straight over the wicketkeeper's head.
Root and Morgan brought up their fifties in the same Dockrell over - Root with a tickled single to midwicket from 57 balls, then Morgan dabbing to square leg from his 49th delivery - but shortly after the second drinks break, Root's innings was curtailed as Peter Chase lured him into a loose drive to mid-off.
He departed for a run-a-ball 73, with a rueful shake of the head perhaps betraying a sense that, once again, he'd been found ever-so-slightly wanting when the onus had moved from nurdling to slogging. Still, at 200 for 3 in the 36th over, he had helped to lay a substantial platform, and when Morgan fell in a similar fashion three overs later, the stage was set for Bairstow and Sam Billings - Champions Trophy understudies - to capitalise on the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler and carry England through the death overs.
However, it didn't quite pan out as intended for Billings, who smoked one pleasing drive through the covers off Chase, but then holed out to long-on off Dockrell. Instead Rashid, with a carefree 39 from 25 balls, showed him what might have been, as Bairstow seized his chance to carry on the belligerent form that he had shown for Yorkshire against Durham earlier in the week.
The power and timing of Bairstow's final volley of boundaries was a particularly eloquent statement of intent, as he smashed 26 runs from the last seven balls that he faced, including a bottom-edged four to bring up his fifty from 38 balls, followed by the first of three hefty sixes over the leg-side to bring up England's 300. Even Stokes and Buttler would have struggled to make more capital at the death.
All the same, whatever Bairstow could do, Stirling was determined at least to match, as he came steaming out of the blocks in Ireland's reply. After trading singles with Ed Joyce in Mark Wood's opening over, he climbed into each of David Willey's first three balls, crashing a trio of fours through the covers and midwicket. One single later, he was doing the same to Wood as well, showcasing his astounding eye with back-to-back cover drives to move to 22 from eight deliveries.
Though he reined his aggression in a touch thereafter, Stirling's solidity grew as a consequence, and it took a DRS intervention in the 14th over for England to finally weather the storm. Jake Ball found some extra lift outside off stump, and Stirling was lured into a nibble. Despite Tim Robinson's initial not-out call, the spike on Ultra Edge brought an end to a thrilling cameo.
That, to all intents and purposes, was the end of Ireland's challenge too, although Porterfield epitomised a rediscovered sense of purpose, as bedded himself in to be the backbone of the innings. After a torturous innings of 13 from 45 balls at Bristol, his 82 from 83 balls was a far better indication of his enduring class.
However, Porterfield's stay did end in something of an aberration, as he dropped to one knee to scoop Wood over his shoulder and was instead bowled round his legs. Perhaps he felt it was his duty to keep pushing for the win, but at 223 for 6 in the 41st over, he would have known deep down that the contest was already out of reach. A century at Lord's, however, had very much been at his mercy.
The remainder of Ireland's batsmen came and went in a parade of cameos - the O'Brien brothers, Gary Wilson, Barry McCarthy and Tim Murtagh were all caught in the outfield looking for something ambitious, before Dockrell was yorked by Wood to seal the contest with 3.5 overs remaining.
Root and Liam Plunkett shared the bulk of the spoils for England with three wickets apiece. Ireland as a whole, however, had achieved the very least that they had hoped for before the tour, and emerged from an exacting contest with their pride intact.