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England v Ireland: Second ODI round-up

England clinched the series with a four-wicket victory over Ireland in the second ODI at the Ageas Bowl.

After a hard-fought fightback from the visitors, Sam Billings (46*) and David Willey (47*) saw England over the line with a spirited seventh-wicket stand.

Chris Silverwood had made just one change from the first one-day, bringing Reece Topley into the side for the first time since 2016 in place of Tom Curran.

England once again rattled through Ireland’s top order, David Willey overcoming an ostensibly more confident start from Paul Stirling.

The left-armer continued his fine recent form with two wickets in his first four overs, bringing his career tally to 500, before handing over to Adil Rashid to inflict most of the damage.

A fine display of leg-spin left even Ireland’s more experienced batsmen bamboozled, not least Kevin O’Brien who was left stumbling after a textbook Rashid googly.

Andy Balbirnie had previously threatened to restore some momentum before he was caught behind amidst a surprise bowling stint from James Vince.

Rashid proved too much for Ireland, however, and ended with figures of 3-34.

Ireland will have been buoyed at least by the display of Curtis Campher, who continued his impressive baptism into international white-ball cricket with a hard-fought 68 to steady the ship.

Simi Singh and Andy McBrine also weighed in with useful cameos, but a total of 212 was unlikely to be enough to ward off England.

The hosts might have got off to an awkward start with Jason Roy’s dismissal, but that was before Jonny Bairstow put on a dazzling battling display.

The wicket-keeper equalled England’s record fastest ODI 50 with two sixes and eight fours and eventually made a quick-fire 82 off 40 balls – in doing so matching Joe Root as his nation’s fastest batsman to 3000 ODI runs.

Bairstow was halted only by a dominant Josh Little, who then capitalised with England on the ropes to see Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali both out for a duck. The skipper will have been kicking himself after slogging it to mid-wicket and Ali likewise misjudged his shot into the hands of Lorcan Tucker.

Yet Billings and Willey remained unfazed and helped England move into an unassailable 2-0 series lead and take another step towards World Cup qualification.