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England vs Ireland, second ODI: live score and latest updates

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OVER 13: England 104/3 ( Billings 5* Bairstow 64*)            

Second ball and that’s a fine shot by Billings off his back foot through point. A single each, Bairstow keeping the strike.


WICKET! Banton lbw b Campher 15

Good timing by Banton, beats the diving fielder at midwicket with a nudge for four. But then big appeal and Banton’s gone lbw! Stayed low, bottom of the front pad. No review. FOW 98/3


OVER 12: England 94/2 ( Banton 11* Bairstow 63*)           

Single for Bairstow into the leg side. And now one for Banton, sitting back, sending a single to midwicket. Bairstow down the ground, hard strike, four. Into the 60s.


OVER 11: England 88/2 ( Banton 10* Bairstow 58*)          

Edge by Banton but misses the stumps and fielders, four. No ball from Campher means a free hit for Bairstow – hit well by there’s a man at mid on to cut that off for a single. Nice drive from the ground for Banton for four.


OVER 10: England 77/2 ( Banton 1* Bairstow 57*)         

Couple of singles as Banton gets off the mark. Hard hit from Bairstow, loads of power, rattles that to deep midwicket for four. Lovely.


OVER 9: England 71/2 ( Banton 0* Bairstow 52*)        

Banton survives his first two balls. Great impact from Campher, who was class with the bat earlier too.


WICKET! Vince b Campher 16

Campher now bowling, hoping for a nick down the leg side from Vince but not happening there. But now he bowls him! Inside edge taking out middle stump. Vince gone again. FOW 71/2


OVER 8: England 71/1 (Vince 16* Bairstow 52*)       

Is that a six? Skip down the ground towards McBrine from Bairstow and he sends it way over mid off. One bounce, four. Ireland hoping to slow things up a bit with some spin after some expensive overs. 

Worth remembering that Bairstow was out to McBrine on Thursday early on – now he’s trying to make amends and he’ll do so with a big six over mid off this time! That’s his 50, tying the fastest ODI 50 by and England player. 51* runs off 21 balls.

Single too from Vince. England cantering here.


OVER 7: England 59/1 (Vince 15* Bairstow 41*)      

Six from Bairstow to start the over! Flies over square leg into the bottom of the stand, delightful. Three off the next following a mis-field out at point. Vince adds two to finish off a good over.


OVER 6: England 48/1 (Vince 13* Bairstow 32*)     

Vince comes to the party with one of those Vince drives that look so nice. More runs there, cutting through the field in the off side for four more.


OVER 5: England 40/1 (Vince 5* Bairstow 32*)    

Bairstow crashes a four through midwicket on the pull. That’s so sharp. Singles for both before Bairstow gets under one and dispatches it past mid on for another boundary.


OVER 4: England 30/1 (Vince 4* Bairstow 23*)   

Vince gets in on the act, swiveling and pulling that for four. Next ball is a wide and that’s all from the over, England’s run rate on about 9.5.


OVER 3: England 25/1 (Vince 0* Bairstow 23*)  

Flick off the pads from Bairstow, ball in the slot and he sends it to deep midwicket. He’s motoring now.

Swing and a miss though, Little getting up to 86mph. That’s better timing, sits up and Bairstow pulls it smoothly for four past midwicket. And then he does it again! A dozen runs off each of the past two overs.


OVER 2: England 13/1 (Vince 0* Bairstow 11*) 

Little from the other end. Sky showing a package of his three wickets against England from last year, barely recognised him with his head shaved. More muscle, too. He starts with a wide.

Bairstow off the mark with a cover drive, blocked and gets two. Then he whacks a boundary up and extra cover, supreme, before another boundary with a low inside edge that whizzed past the keeper. Adds a single to keep the strike.


OVER 1: England 1/1 (Vince 0* Bairstow 0*)

First ball to Vince is a wide and then Young stops his run-up. Odd shot that from Roy and he’ll be seething.


WICKET! Roy c Delany b Young 0

No tenth ton for him today! Roy reaching for a wider delivery, doesn’t got enough it and it drops perfectly for Delany at extra cover. Great start for Ireland. FOW 0/1


And we’re back

Young with the ball first up to the familiar pairing of Roy and Bairstow. Roy on nine ODI hundreds.


England need 213 runs to win

How to assess that? Well, Rashid was outstanding, as was Willey in his opening spell and Topley on his international return. Once again, Campher was the standout performer with the bat for Ireland, and they have him to thank for posting a total in excess of 200. It shouldn’t be anywhere near enough to trouble England, but at least they just about have something to defend. Back shortly.

Campher = a man with skills:




OVER 50: IRE 212/9 (Young 2*)

Wonderful death bowling from Topley, who fully deserves that wicket and could have had another after deceiving Young with an excellent slower ball, but Willey couldn’t quite hold onto a tricky catch after charging in from mid-off.


WICKET! McBrine c Bairstow b Topley 24

Topley has a wicket with the last ball of the innings! A rapid bouncer is too good for McBrine and it flicks the glove on the way through to Bairstow. Just too quick. FOW 212/9


OVER 49: IRE 209/8 (Young 1* McBrine 22*)

Mahmood is back for the penultimate over of the innings. Single, single, wicket, single… and then close to picking up Young who top edges his first delivery and watches Bairstow fall short after haring to square leg and diving for the catch. An impressive end from Mahmood.


WICKET! Campher c Rashid b Mahmood 68

An excellent innings comes to an end. Campher looks to hit long but edges down to third man, where Rashid does well to make good ground to his left and hold onto a tough catch. Campher now has an international batting average. FOW 207/8


OVER 48: IRE 205/7 (Campher 67* McBrine 20*)

Ireland’s last 50 has come off just 35 balls and these two batsmen don’t want to stop now. Campher pulls for one before McBrine steps back and lifts over the off-side infield for two. Topley comes back brilliantly though, beating the bat with a bumper, a cutter and a slower-ball bouncer.


OVER 47: IRE 200/7 (Campher 66* McBrine 16*)

This will be Willey’s last over and Campher greets him with a bullet of a hook shot, smashing it off his nose for four. He immediately follows up by getting under a slower full toss and lifting over mid-off for four more. But the best is saved for last with a reverse ramp shot/switch hit for another four. You’d think Ireland won’t have enough to defend here, but you never know. Campher (especially), Singh and McBrine have batted very well today.


OVER 46: IRE 185/7 (Campher 52* McBrine 15*)

This is good work from Topley, firing in a yorker at Campher before deceiving him with a slower ball. But Campher then plays a quite brilliant ramp shot to loft the ball over short fine-leg and bring up back-to-back 50s at the start of his international career. A fine talent is the young South African Irishman.


OVER 45: IRE 179/7 (Campher 47* McBrine 14*)

That is a lovely shot from McBrine, who steps down the track and clobbers Willey over his head for a one-bounce four. That mark of 200 is moving ever nearer and the big shots are on show. Campher misses an attempted heave and then cuts high over the infield to the point boundary for two.


OVER 44: IRE 171/7 (Campher 45* McBrine 9*)

Topley is back into the attack and finds some seam and bounce to beat McBrine’s outside edge, before Campher chops a slower ball inches from his own stumps. Four singles from this one.


OVER 43: IRE 167/7 (Campher 43* McBrine 7*)

Streaky, but effective, from Campher who goes for an aerial pull shot off Willey’s bouncer and watches it just evade Billings in the deep to run over the rope for four. These two batsmen are looking to be busy now. Singles galore and quick running between the wickets. Nine runs off the over.


OVER 42: IRE 157/7 (Campher 35* McBrine 5*)

As in the first ODI, Campher will be left with the tail. McBrine showed he could bat in that match, but he is almost sent packing immediately as his dive was well short when running a crazy single to mid-off. Luckily for him, Willey’s throw was off target so he survives and ends the over guiding Mahmood for four fine of third man.


WICKET! Singh c Bairstow b Mahmood 25

Mahmood hasn’t looked overly threatening today, but he has a soft wicket here with Singh trying to give himself some room to cut and feathering through to the keeper. The partnership is broken. FOW 151/7


OVER 41: IRE 147/6 (Campher 34* Singh 21*)

Time for Willey to return and Morgan will hope he can polish things off. Ireland – who posted 172 in the first ODI – will be eyeing up 200. That shouldn’t really be enough, but at least it’s something considering the position they were in. No wicket for Willey, but just two singles as Campher’s big swings come to nothing. The set batsman looks like he’s trying to up the rate now.


OVER 40: IRE 145/6 (Campher 33* Singh 20*)

Hmm, this is strange. Mahmood appears to beat the bat as Campher has a waft outside off, but Bairstow is 100 per cent convinced it grazed the edge. It didn’t look at all like that was the case, but he convinces Morgan to review the not out decision… and the review confirms bat was nowhere near ball. No idea what Bairstow heard there, but England now have no reviews left. Singh then guides a neat four through the vacant third-man area. England could do with a wicket now.


OVER 39: IRE 138/6 (Campher 31* Singh 15*)

Still no big shot. Two more singles off Moeen. The overs are ticking by, the partnership is almost 50, both sides are as content as the situation dictates.


OVER 38: IRE 136/6 (Campher 30* Singh 14*)

Mahmood gets one to cut back into Campher’s back leg. He asks the question, but the umpire isn’t interested and there will be no review because it was sliding down leg. The sequence of singles continues with four of them off the first four balls.




OVER 37: IRE 132/6 (Campher 29* Singh 12*)

Ireland can’t really afford to take any risks so it’s all about rotating the strike and ticking things along. And giving Campher the strike. Three more singles off Moeen.


OVER 36: IRE 129/6 (Campher 27* Singh 11*)

Mahmood comes back into the attack, a single is taken and then he hits Campher with a glancing blow off the helmet. The result is two leg byes and a mandatory concussion test… prompting drinks to be taken five balls into the over. The concussion test is passed and the over belatedly comes to an end with everyone rehydrated.


OVER 35: IRE 125/6 (Campher 26* Singh 10*)

Campher is enjoying himself in this series. Now he capitalises on Moeen dropping one short and pulls hard for four through mid-wicket, which prompts Morgan to remove the man at slip. Can Campher haul Ireland up to 180-odd?


OVER 34: IRE 119/6 (Campher 20* Singh 10*)

Boof. Campher spots a bit of a loopy, slower one from Rashid and slaps it aerially for four straight down the ground. That’s the end of Rashid for the day. An excellent effort from him with figures of three for 34 off his 10 overs.


OVER 33: IRE 114/6 (Campher 15* Singh 10*)

That’s more like it for Ireland, with five easy singles taken off Moeen’s over. Risk-free cricket.


OVER 32: IRE 109/6 (Campher 12* Singh 8*)

Morgan has no man out on the leg side, which is amazing goading captaincy at this stage of an innings with a leg-spinner on. Singh takes the challenge and sweeps off middle stump for four fine of backward square-leg. There’s then one big shout as Singh is struck on the pad by a googly, but the umpire says no and England opt against the review. A second big shout prompts the same shake of the head from the umpire, but this time Morgan does review. Singh was attempting another sweep and was actually hit on the shoulder, but the review shows he was struck outside the line of off stump. Good contest.


OVER 31: IRE 104/6 (Campher 11* Singh 4*)

These Ireland batsmen are looking to be busier against the spinners now, but just two singles are added off Moeen’s over.


OVER 30: IRE 102/6 (Campher 10* Singh 3*)

Runs for Ireland courtesy of a Rashid googly that slides down leg and beats Bairstow behind the stumps. And it’s a front-foot no-ball! So a free hit for Ireland, which Singh slaps for one to the cover sweeper. That no-ball was given by the third umpire, which is protocol in this series.


OVER 29: IRE 93/6 (Campher 8* Singh 2*)

Time for Moeen to have another crack and see if he can finish things off with his fellow spinner. Nothing untoward, but only one run from the over.

Rashid = the first England spinner to reach 150 ODI wickets:


OVER 28: IRE 92/6 (Campher 8* Singh 1*)

Adil Rashid today: three for 19 off seven overs.


WICKET! Tucker c Topley b Rashid 21

That’s what pressure does. Tucker attempts to drag one from wide outside off but gets his attempted sweep horribly wrong. He has no control whatsoever over the shot as the ball loops gently off the top edge to Topley at backward square-leg. FOW 91/6


OVER 27: IRE 91/5 (Campher 8* Tucker 21*)

Lovely shot from Campher, who uses Mahmood’s pace and cuts hard through point for four. That wasn’t very short or wide, but Campher played it very well, continuing his fine form from Thursday.


OVER 26: IRE 87/5 (Campher 4* Tucker 21*)

Just nothing happening for Ireland off Rashid. He’s totally suffocating them.


OVER 25: IRE 86/5 (Campher 3* Tucker 21*)

Close to a wicket for Mahmood as he gets one to rear up at Tucker and takes the outside edge. There is no first slip in place though so Bairstow’s dive is in despair and the result is four very fortunate runs. That would have been straight into first slip’s hands.


OVER 24: IRE 80/5 (Campher 2* Tucker 16*)

Rashid is all over the batsmen today. All over them. And he almost cleans up Campher first ball, with an inside edge passing the stumps by an inch.


WICKET! Tector c Mahmood b Rashid 28

Can Rashid make his googly count or will the stalemate continue? Dot, dot, one, dot… and the pressure tells with Tector looking to hit over the top and instead chipping straight down mid-on’s throat. All so easy. FOW 78/5


OVER 23: IRE 77/4 (Tector 28* Tucker 15*)

Good pace from Mahmood in the high 80s here, but Tucker does well to ride some bounce and swivel pull the ball very fine for four. Ireland needed this partnership.


OVER 22: IRE 71/4 (Tector 27* Tucker 10*)

Back to the Rashid googly battle. Every time he bowls it, he appears no more than a whisker away from either crashing into pad or wicket. Tector is fortunate for an inside edge to save him here, but the batsmen don’t seem to have a way of scoring off the leggie, as Bairstow is frequently reminding them.


OVER 21: IRE 70/4 (Tector 26* Tucker 10*)

That is indeed the end of Vince as Mahmood comes on in the Liam Plunkett, middle overs, role. These two batsmen are rotating the strike nicely now, nicking singles here and there. Three of them in fact off this over.


OVER 20: IRE 67/4 (Tector 24* Tucker 9*)

I‘m not sure the Ireland batsmen can pick Rashid’s googly at all here, which makes things very interesting. Four runs off an uneventful over. No big shots.


OVER 19: IRE 63/4 (Tector 23* Tucker 6*)

Finally, the Ireland batsmen have decided to try and do something against Vince, who is now into his fourth over. Tector pulls for one after advancing down the track and Tucker then flays for three over short mid-wicket, before ending the over by lofting Vince over the bowler’s head for a one-bounce four. I suspect that will be the end we see of Vince bowling today.


OVER 18: IRE 52/4 (Tector 17* Tucker 2*)

Oh my word, Tector has just leathered a Rashid full toss straight back past the bowler and OFF THE UMPIRE”S HEAD for four. That glanced David Millns – standing in his first ODI today – on the way through. Very fortunate it didn’t hit him an harder. Tucker ends the over adding two with an inside edge to fine leg.


OVER 17: IRE 45/4 (Tector 13* Tucker 0*)

No suggestion of Morgan going in for the kill after drinks, as Vince continues. Maybe the England captain is trying to ease Ireland up to a total like you do in a friendly village game. Or maybe Vince is in fact the killer man. What do I know? One run from the over. Ireland just have to survive for a couple dozen overs here.


OVER 16: IRE 44/4 (Tector 12* Tucker 0*)

This isn’t going well for Ireland. Time for a drinks break.


WICKET! O’Brien b Rashid 3

Rashid comes on in place of Moeen and he does O’Brien all ends up with a googly. The Ireland batsman is utterly clueless, playing totally down the wrong line as the ball eases between bat and pad before hitting middle stump. FOW 44/4


OVER 15: IRE 41/3 (Tector 10* O’Brien 2*)

Was that a good ball from Vince to get rid of Balbirnie? I don’t know any more. What on earth is he even doing bowling??? It was a gentle half-tracker, but perhaps it seamed slightly into the batsman. Eoin Morgan knows a hell of a lot more than I do, that’s for sure.


WICKET! Balbirnie c Bairstow b Vince 15

Would you believe it!!! Vince bangs it in halfway down, Balbirnie goes to cut it, then tries to pull his bat back as he has second thoughts about the shot, but feathers it off the face through to Bairstow. VINCE HAS HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL WICKET! FOW 39/3


OVER 14: IRE 38/2 (Tector 9* Balbirnie 15*)

“Big shot’s coming here,” goads Bairstow behind the stumps as the batsmen continue to block and nudge Moeen. It doesn’t work this time though, with three singles added. England will be happy enough with that. This is slow going.


OVER 13: IRE 35/2 (Tector 7* Balbirnie 14*)

I‘ll give you five guesses as to who is coming on to bowl now. No? It’s… James Vince! This is his first bowl in ODI cricket and he has just two wickets in his entire List A career. I wonder what Morgan’s thinking is here. Surely this is letting Ireland off the hook. Vince bowls medium pace (high 70s) and he begins with a leg-stump floater that Tector turns for two. The rest of the over passes without incident as Balbirnie defends an off-stump line.


OVER 12: IRE 32/2 (Tector 4* Balbirnie 14*)

Reece Topley’s return spell in international cricket comes to an end after some tidy work and Moeen is brought into the attack. Tector pushes a single into the off side and Balbirnie then sweeps beautifully for four all along the floor through a vacant square-leg region.


OVER 11: IRE 27/2 (Tector 3* Balbirnie 10*)

Slightly too full from Willey and Balbirnie stands tall to drive straight back past the bowler for four. A lovely shot, that. Perhaps Balbirnie is just starting to work his way into this after a tough start.


OVER 10: IRE 20/2 (Tector 2* Balbirnie 5*)

Finally, Balbirnie sorts his footwork out and crunches a lovely drive off Topley… but it gets no further than mid-off so the result is no more than a single.

I have to admit I’ve found Kevin Pietersen to be a fine commentator with some interesting insight (when he manages to curb his know-it-all arrogance), but for the love of God PLEASE can we have five minutes without the relentless golf banter with co-commentators.


OVER 9: IRE 19/2 (Tector 2* Balbirnie 4*)

Oh, what a beauty from Willey, cutting Balbirnie in half and bouncing just over off stump. I’m afraid to say there’s been a huge gulf in class between the batsmen and bowlers today. Just one more single added. The ball is moving a long way (and both ways, in Willey’s case).


OVER 8: IRE 18/2 (Tector 2* Balbirnie 3*)

These Ireland batsmen seem to be somewhat clueless to Topley angling the ball across them today. Just one run off the over.


OVER 7: IRE 17/2 (Tector 2* Balbirnie 2*)

Tector, fresh from his duck on ODI debut, is the new man. And he gets off the mark with a flick off his pads for two. Willey has two for six from his four overs. That man is hot right now.


WICKET! Stirling c Banton b Willey 12

Another wicket for Willey. Stirling spots some width to capitalise on, throws his bat at the ball and slices his attempted drive behind square on the off side, where Banton holds onto a fine catch, diving to his left at point. A big loss for Ireland. FOW 15/2


OVER 6: IRE 15/1 (Stirling 12* Balbirnie 2*) 

Nothing changes from Topley, who is pushing into the high 80s now, as he continues to guide the ball across the batsman and beat the outside edge. Two more singles added.


OVER 5: IRE 13/1 (Stirling 11* Balbirnie 1*) 

When you see Willey bowl as well as he did on Thursday and today, it’s hard to believe he was left out of England’s World Cup squad. But… they did win the whole darn thing without him. He’s just so dangerous at mixing up his in- and out-swingers to keep the batsmen guessing. Probably wise to remind myself that this is only Ireland he’s up against.


WICKET! Delany lbw Willey 0

It’s been a tortuous innings for Delany and it comes to an end as he is struck on the pad, prompting the finger to be raised. It’s the in-swinger from Willey, which pitches on middle, holds its line and is hitting two-thirds of the way up the central stump. No review used. That was dead. FOW 12/1


OVER 4: IRE 11/0 (Stirling 10* Delany 0*) 

Topley is sticking to a line just outside off stump to Delany, moving the ball across and away from the right-hander. Delany isn’t prepared to chance his arm just yet, which means stalemate for now and another maiden.


OVER 3: IRE 11/0 (Stirling 10* Delany 0*) 

Willey is mixing things up with in- and out-swingers to keep Stirling guessing here. The Ireland opener takes a step down the track to try and throw Willey off his length, but there’s nothing at all to work with and the result is a maiden.


OVER 2: IRE 11/0 (Stirling 10* Delany 0*) 

Welcome back to international cricket Reece Topley. Or perhaps not. Stirling drives his very first ball for four through mid-off and then repeats the trick a couple of balls later past cover. Topley comes back well though, tightening his line at a healthy pace in the mid-80s.


OVER 1: IRE 2/0 (Stirling 1* Delany 0*) 

Willey, fresh from his Michelle the other day, kicks things off… with a leg-side wide. He had Stirling caught at short mid-wicket on Thursday so may well target the same leg-stump line today. He does indeed, but Stirling tickles a single to fine leg to get off the mark. A tidy opening over from Willey. Just two from it.


Here come the players

It’s overcast down in Southampton, where there could be a shower or two today. Hopefully nothing that will prevent a result.


Reece’s pieces

Good stat. But: What. A. Look. Straight out of Dodgeball.


And a bit more on Willey…



Some insight from Rob Key and Kevin Pietersen into David Willey’s top performance.


Fist to fist, elbow to elbow, or, the underrated elbow to wrist

England's Eoin Morgan and Ireland's Andy Balbirnie touch arms

England’s Eoin Morgan and Ireland’s Andy Balbirnie touch arms



Bit of county news before we get cracking

Somerset pace bowler Jamie Overton will join Surrey at the end of the season. The 26-year-old has agreed a three-year deal and will make the switch in November.

“We’re very pleased Jamie will be joining us and I look forward to seeing him perform in a Surrey shirt,” Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart said.

Overton has taken 164 wickets in his 64 first-class appearances and added: “From the moment that Alec made contact and talked me through the opportunity, I was excited about coming to Surrey.

“I’m obviously aware of the club’s history and success and these were all major attractions for me in moving from Somerset.” PA


Morgan not fussed about losing the toss

Might be a bit of moisture in the wicket but looking to replicate our intensity up front. 


Ireland win the toss and will bat

Darkish clouds over the Ageas Bowl. Hopefully they clear off. There’s a chance of rain according to the Met Office but only about 40 and 30 per cent.

Team news: Reece Topley comes back into the England side with Tom Curran missing out in England’s only change. It’s Topley’s first England game since 2016.

Josh Little meanwhile comes in for Barry McCarthy, who is out for the rest of the series.

ENG: Roy, Bairstow, Vince, Morgan, Billings, Banton, Moeen, Willey, Topley, Rashid Mahmood

IRE: Stirling, Delany, Balbirnie, Tector, O’Brien, Tucker, Campher, Singh, McBrine, Young, Little


The rise of Ireland

The Irish captain Andy Balbirnie outlines the challenge ahead for his side.

Our young guys have got to come in and compete against the world champions in their backyard and there’s no hiding place. They’re ready to stand up and be counted. That’s a really great attitude to have. 

The group that we have now, with young guys coming in, they have showed that fearless attitude.


Stirling’s threat

Paul Stirling’s match impact ranks among the best in the world, as Tim Wigmore explores here.

 Paul Stirling of Ireland

 Paul Stirling of Ireland



Morgan’s successor?

After his impressive knock earlier this week, Tim Wigmore examines whether Sam Billings has what it takes to take over from Eoin Morgan in England’s middle order.


David Willey after taking five wickets on Thursday

It was just special to be playing for England again. My main priority was to enjoy it, so the (five wickets) were just the icing on the cake.

I’ve been working quite hard to try to get back to my best and if not better than I have been previously. It’s been a roller coaster but I was just out there enjoying my cricket.

I’m moving in the right direction and I feel like my best cricket is still to come. But it’s just great to be back out there wearing this shirt with the Three Lions on, so I just want to enjoy it.


How England wrapped things up on Thursday



Sam Billings is determined to seize a regular middle-order spot in England’s one-day side after benefiting from an injury to one of his closest friends to play a starring role in Thursday’s six-wicket win over Ireland.

While several World Cup winners were absent due to their Test commitments, Billings was still set for a familiar role as drinks carrier in the Royal London series opener until Kent team-mate Joe Denly went down with back spasms.

Billings was drafted into the XI and marked his 16th ODI appearance in five years with a format-best 67 not out, helping England over the line after they had stumbled to 78 for four in their pursuit of 173 at the Ageas Bowl.

Billings is under no illusion as to how difficult it is to break into the white-ball sides, having spent a good chunk of his career on the fringes, but he feels more ready than ever to challenge for a place.

Key to that belief is a more positive mindset and a fine-tuning of his technique, now standing still at the crease and eschewing the pronounced dip with his hands before the bowler releases the ball.

“In the past I have come in for the odd game here or there, put way too much pressure on myself and got away from what I have done well in the past,” the Kent captain said.

“It’s an opportunity that has come out of an unfortunate situation to one of my best mates but that’s sport and at the end of the day, I have got to do what I have got to do.

“The middle-order role is a very tough one but one that I’m looking forward to making my own really. (England captain) Eoin Morgan has chucked the challenge out for all of us batsmen.

“There are a ridiculous number of white-ball batsmen in the one-day set-up at the moment and for me I just want to focus, keep working hard, keep doing what I’m doing.

“I’m happy with where my game’s at. I made a few technical tweaks after my injury last year and I think that’s put me in a much better place for international cricket.

“It’s nice to see the hard work that I have put in come to fruition. I have done all I can do. That’s what I have got to focus on moving forward.”

Sam Billings of England

Sam Billings of England


The 29-year-old admitted his England career “hit a heavy speed bump” last year, when a dislocated shoulder weeks before the World Cup potentially deprived him of a squad place.

He made three centuries in four County Championship matches but underwhelmed during a Twenty20 series in New Zealand, when he was vice-captain to Morgan, and was overlooked for white-ball assignments in South Africa.

But after shining in his first ODI since June 2018, he added: “For me, it’s just about building that momentum back up, it has been very up and down over the last five years.

“I see this as actually just a starting point and I have easily my best cricket ahead of me, I have got no doubts about that. All I can do is take my opportunities when they arise.”

Denly’s injury has ruled him out of the series against Ireland ahead of the penultimate match on Saturday, with Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone stepping into the 14-man squad from the reserves.

The quick turnaround in games could mean an international return for left-arm seamer Reece Topley, who last played for England four years ago and has had multiple surgeries on his lower back following several stress fractures. PA


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