Curtis Campher marked his senior international debut with an accomplished all-round performance that would have allowed even a far more seasoned campaigner to hold his head high.

Top-scoring as Ireland's last man standing with an unbeaten 59 then claiming a wicket with just his fourth ball in ODIs, 21-year-old Campher would not change much - except the result and perhaps adding the noise of a crowd.

"I loved it," Campher told Sky Sports after England comfortably won the first of three ODIs behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday. "You can't ask for a better debut in my eyes. Maybe one or two things could have gone differently but, for me, really it was just taking the moment.

"All the guys spoke to me, and just said, 'just enjoy your debut and relish the challenge'."

ALSO READ: Willey enjoys five-star return after 'rollercoaster' England ride

Campher's only previous List A game was for Ireland Wolves against Namibia in February but captain Andy Balibirnie was comfortable throwing him into the action after he had impressed in the nets. His 59 not out was the second-highest by an Irish ODI debutant, behind the man leading the opposition, Eoin Morgan.

"I thought it was very impressive for a guy who's not even played a game in Ireland yet to come in as a 21-year-old and put in a performance like that," Balbirnie said. "It was sort of an old-school knock, but it was exactly what we needed - we needed someone to occupy the crease and adapt to conditions, which as top-five batters we weren't able to do.

"It was as good a debut as I've seen in an Irish shirt in the last number of years, and it's a huge positive to take. He's only 21 and hopefully he can get better from today."

While the flag Campher was flying was perhaps not the one he had originally envisaged, having switched allegience from South Africa - whom he represented at Under-19 level - on the basis of his mother's Irish passport, he has slotted into his new team comfortably.

"It's been the easiest thing to walk into this environment and everyone's been welcoming and just been so good to me," Campher added. "Having the backing of all the players, the captain and all the support staff has just been a dream really."

Campher came in with Ireland in dire trouble at 28 for 5 and saw off David Willey's hat-trick ball. He shared a 51-run stand with 134-match veteran Kevin O'Brien and managed to pull Ireland up to a more respectable 172 with a patient innings lasting 118 balls and the best part of three hours before he ran out of partners.

"It was a bit weird facing guys with no crowd," Campher said. "I just tried to stay focused for as long periods as possible. Kev was just amazing to me, mentoring me and taking me through it.

"It's been an amazing journey so far and hopefully it's the start of something good."

Ireland's task of defending a relatively modest target against the world champion side, albeit with a few new faces on board, hit a snag early when Barry McCarthy limped off with a knee injury just five balls into England's innings.

But they managed to make inroads thanks to Craig Young and Andy McBrine as England's top order of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and James Vince fell cheaply.

England promoted Tom Banton and Sam Billings up the order and it was Campher who struck to remove No. 4 Banton, not for the first time.

In a youth ODI for South Africa U19s in 2018, Campher dismissed Banton lbw for 9. During their latest encounter, Banton wafted at a short ball and top-edged to Lorcan Tucker behind the stumps for 11 - but Campher played down the symmetry.

"I think sometimes it's just how it goes to be honest," he said. "Just happy to to be doing something for for the side and contributing.

"It was good to get a bowl. I didn't think it would be that soon. Sadly Baz got injured but for me it's just keeping it simple and trying to restrict. Happy to do a job for the captain today."