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England and the Aussies sign up to Ireland battles

By Ian Callender

Ireland will top and tail their international summer next year with one-day internationals against England and Australia in Dublin and Belfast.

The fixtures had already been announced but Cricket Ireland yesterday confirmed the game against England will be in Malahide on Friday, May 8 with the Australians returning to Stormont – where their last ODI in 2012 was abandoned after just 10 overs by rain – on Thursday, August 27.

There is some reasoning to the date of the Australia visit, three days after the final day of the Ashes series and four days before the only Twenty20 international between the fierce rivals, but the England game is randomly placed two weeks before Alistair Cook side's first Test against New Zealand next summer and a full month before the teams' first ODI.

Still, Ireland were never going to turn down a visit by England, at any time, especially after the success of last year's game when a record 10,000 packed into the expanded Malahide ground, now the No 1 venue for Cricket Ireland.

As a result, it was a no-brainer to take the 2015 game back to north Dublin although whether the England team will be any stronger must be doubtful.

Meanwhile, Ireland Under-19s drew level in their three-match Challenge Series against the Netherlands with a two wickets win at Rathmines.

Waringstown's James McCollum hit 94 in Tuesday's five wickets defeat. The teams play a T20 at the same venue today.

* Mahendra Singh Dhoni is unrepentant about India's decision to make an allegation of Level 3 seriousness against England's James Anderson.

Dhoni was close at hand when an altercation took place between Anderson and India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as the players made their way into the Trent Bridge pavilion at lunch on day two of the first Investec Test.

The issue has overshadowed preparations for the second Test at Lord's after India sent their allegation to the International Cricket Council that Anderson "pushed and abused" his opponent.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has made it clear Anderson strongly denies the charge, has sent a Level 2 counter-allegation against Jadeja to the ICC and described the incident as "minor".

The India captain said: "We felt what happened was wrong, so we went ahead with the charges."

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