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William Porterfield is wary as Ireland strive to make cricket history

By Ian Callender

Published 07/05/2015

Cautious approach: William Porterfield highlighted England’s
quality as Ireland aim for a first home ODI win over a Test side
Cautious approach: William Porterfield highlighted England’s quality as Ireland aim for a first home ODI win over a Test side

Ireland have never beaten a Test nation in a one-day international on home soil and, weather permitting, they will try again tomorrow at Malahide (10.45am) in what many are promoting as their best ever opportunity.

While William Porterfield leads a side all of whom were in the squad which defeated West Indies and Zimbabwe at the World Cup finals just two months ago, James Taylor is his opposite number in his first game as England captain and certain to have at least four ODI debutants in his ranks.

But Porterfield is urging caution amid the expectation, although admits no-one will be wanting a win more than the players.

"There are different expectations from outside, but we were under pressure to perform (at the World Cup) in Australia and New Zealand and came away with three wins, only missing out on the quarter-finals on run-rate," said Porterfield.

"We haven't beaten a Full Member in Dublin so that's a target and no matter what England team takes the field, it will be a good one.

"They have a Test match opening attack in Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn and the batting is an exciting line-up who have done well in T20s around the world."

Undoubtedly, the loss yet again of the experienced bowler Tim Murtagh - he missed the World Cup with a foot problem - after he suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday playing for Middlesex is a body blow to Ireland's weakest area, but this time there surely can be no question that Craig Young will get the new ball after being overlooked by former coach Phil Simmons throughout February and March.

Simmons' successor, John Bracewell, met the players for the first time at Ireland's training session yesterday but will have only a watching brief this week, getting to know everyone, including his back-room staff.

Gary Wilson is expected to retain the wicket-keeping gloves for the first match post-Simmons with Niall O'Brien playing, as usual, as a specialist batsman, with Stuart Thompson and either Alex Cusack or Andy McBrine expected to be left out of the starting XI.

More than 9,000 tickets have already been sold and Taylor, who was one of Murtagh's early victims in 2013 when the same teams played the first ever ODI at Malahide, is expecting another intimidating atmosphere.

"It was a feisty crowd and an exciting game two years ago. We were four down early and then Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara blitzed the ball to all parts, scoring two unbelievable hundreds to get us over the line. But it was an unbelievable atmosphere and I expect the same again," said Taylor.

Morgan, to many people's disbelief, has been allowed to miss the game in favour of the Indian Premier League despite being England's official ODI captain and Bopara is also not here this time, but Taylor is confident he has enough at his disposal to avoid an upset.

"Ireland showed the talent they have got at the World Cup against good teams and played really well, so I know it will be a massive test but I have guys behind me who are going to give them a good run for their money," he said.

Let's just hope the weather doesn't ruin another glamour game for the Irish cricket fans.

Squads: Ireland: W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, A Cusack, G Dockrell, E Joyce, A McBrine, J Mooney, K O'Brien, N O'Brien, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young.

England: J Taylor (capt), Z Ansari, J Bairstow, S Billings, T Bresnan, S Finn, L Gregory, A Hales, A Rashid, J Roy, J Vince, D Willey, M Wood.

Belfast Telegraph

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