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Washout is of little benefit to new coach Bracewell

By Ian Callender

The weather forecasters got it right but that was no consolation to new Ireland coach John Bracewell or his players yesterday afternoon as the majority trooped back to their counties.

Bracewell, who officially took over as National Coach after the one-day international against England was abandoned shortly after 3.00pm, had only 18 overs to 'observe' and, in the circumstances, learnt little as Ireland collapsed to 56 for four when the rain arrived - and it never relented.

At least he can name the same squad for the next match, the Intercontinental Cup game against UAE, back here at Malahide starting on June 2, when the batsmen will not be in such a hurry.

Captain William Porterfield did not try to excuse the loss of four wickets on the predicted rain but he did admit the players were rather more positive than they might have been under clear blue skies after, unsurprisingly, being put in to bat.

"We knew it was going to rain a bit but it wasn't a bad wicket and although we were four down, the pitch didn't contribute to the wickets," he said.

"We went out with a positive mindset, nicked a few balls, a drag on and the run-out is avoidable, but it was one of those days (when the batting team had everything to lose)."

Paul Stirling was the victim of the run out - too slow to react to his captain's call for a quick single in the fourth over - but Porterfield himself never got out of first gear, finding gaps from only four of his 27 deliveries.

Almost inevitably, trying to force the pace, he played the ball onto his own stumps off the bowling of Mark Wood, giving the Durham debutant his first England wicket.

Wood, brought home early from the Test tour of the West Indies to play in the match - as was spinner Adil Rashid - was one of five players making their bow in the England team, and all but Surrey's Zafar Ansari were involved in the wickets.

James Vince was at first slip in the 12th over to hold Niall O'Brien's edged drive as he went for a third boundary in seven balls and David Willey had Andrew Balbirnie - who recorded two scoring strokes in 19 balls - caught at second slip by Jason Roy.

Making typical serene progress at the other end was Ed Joyce, who was 23 not out when the umpires took the players off at 12.04pm as the steady drizzle got worse. There was no chance of returning.

The abandonment left Craig Young, selected for his first game against a Full Member after being forced to carry drinks for all six games at the World Cup, kicking his heels in frustration, still waiting for his first bowl against the big boys.

And that cannot happen now until Thursday, August 27 at the earliest when world champions Australia play at Stormont.

Porterfield, though, is looking forward to playing a rare four-day game on home soil.

"It's a different format for the guys but we will have plenty of cricket before then. It's a big competition (with a pathway to Test cricket) starting for us and hopefully we can bring our A-game," he commented.

"I played against Scotland three years ago but haven't played a lot of it since my debut (in the I-Cup when he scored 166)."

England were playing yesterday with rumours flying about that Peter Moores was supervising his last game, ahead of Andrew Strauss taking over as Director of Cricket next week. But James Taylor had nothing but praise for the outgoing coach.

"He was the same as always in the dressing room and the guys are firmly behind him," he said. "He has been brilliant while I've been around the England camp and I've always found him helpful and positive."

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