England have taken a 1-0 lead in their three-match ODI series against Ireland after Eoin Morgan’s men beat the tourists by six wickets at the Ageas Bowl.

In the first game of the ICC’s new World Cup Super League, the reigning world champions eased to victory with more than 20 overs remaining despite being without a number of key men due to their Test responsibilities.

David Willey and Sam Billings returned to the ODI team for the first time since they missed out on last summer’s World Cup squad and proved just how strong the Three Lions’ options are right now.

Willey took his maiden ODI five-wicket haul, while Billings made his top score in the format, 67, in sun-drenched Southampton.

Morgan won the toss and opted to bowl first – a decision that his opening bowlers quickly proved was the right one.

Willey, who took four wickets in his first six overs, and Mahmood reduced Ireland to 28-5 to put England in full control.

The Irish fought back, however, and some impressive batting from debutant Curtis Campher helped them to rebuild their innings.

Adil Rashid looked sublime in his first competitive run out in months and his figures of 1-26 don’t do justice to just how well he bowled.

A partnership of 66 between Campher and Andy McBrine pushed Ireland up to 150 before the England quicks returned to skittle the tail.

The tourists were dismissed for 172, with Willey taking the final wicket and grabbing a deserved first five-wicket haul in ODIs.

It was fantastic to see the world’s most fearsome opening duo, Messrs Roy and Bairstow, back at the crease for England but the latter was removed in just the third over.

His partner looked to be in the mood – crashing three consecutive boundaries – but was trapped in front for 24.

James Vince fell in a similar vein, hitting some stunning strokes before nicking one for 25.

The wicket of Tom Banton left England wobbling slightly at 78-4 but Billings and Morgan grabbed control of the game with some calm and composed batting.

It was the former, in his first ODI since June 2018, that looked in the best touch – rocking back to pull balls to the fence with gusto and stroking a few excellent reverse sweeps into the gaps.

It is no secret that England have something of an embarrassment of riches in the white-ball game and Billings, who made his highest ODI score of 67, showed that he is another talented option.

England reached their target of 173 in the 27th over and reached it in style, with the skipper planting a huge six back past the bowler.

In the first ODI game on home turf since the World Cup final, the Three Lions showed their quality and took the first step toward defending their title in India in 2023.

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