ENG­LAND READY FOR ‘STERNER TESTS’

Coach Bayliss con­fi­dent af­ter ODI win over Ire­land

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ENG­LAND coach Trevor Bayliss ad­mit­ted he faced some dif­fi­cult se­lec­tion de­ci­sions ahead of next month’s Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy af­ter the tour­na­ment hosts launched their prepa­ra­tions with a 2-0 se­ries win at home to Ire­land on Sun­day.

Test wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, de­ployed as a spe­cial­ist bats­man, made a blis­ter­ing 72 not out as Eng­land beat Ire­land by 85 runs in the sec­ond one-day in­ter­na­tional at Lord’s on Sun­day.

Eng­land were in dan­ger of fall­ing short of 300 un­til Bairstow, ably as­sisted by York­shire col­league Adil Rashid (39) led a charge that saw 61 runs scored in the fi­nal four overs of an even­tual to­tal of 328 for six.

Sam Billings took the gloves in both Sun­day’s match and Eng­land’s seven-wicket win over Ire­land in Bris­tol on Fri­day in place of Jos But­tler, one of sev­eral Eng­land white-ball ‘reg­u­lars’ who missed the se­ries be­cause of their In­dian Pre­mier League com­mit­ments.

But But­tler, along with all­rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes will be back from the IPL when Eng­land con­tinue their Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy build-up with a three-match cam­paign at home to South Africa later this month.

“We know there are sterner tests com­ing up, with South Africa in a cou­ple of weeks’ time and then the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy com­ing up af­ter that, but we have won well and we can’t do any­thing more than that,” Bayliss told Sky Sports.

“I think there’s prob­a­bly not a lot be­tween the three keepers but the amount of runs Jonny scores, it’d be hard to leave him out,” said Aus­tralian coach Bayliss.

“Ev­ery time we give him a go, he gets the job done for us.”

Mean­while Bairstow told re­porters: “I’m pleased with the way I’m strik­ing the ball and mov­ing at the crease, and the byprod­uct is the runs you score.”

And he made it clear he wanted to get into the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy team, with Eng­land bid­ding to win their first ma­jor ODI tour­na­ment.

“It’s some­thing I’ve been tar­get­ing — I want to be a part of ev­ery Eng­land side go­ing forward,” said Bairstow.

In the field, Durham fast bowler Mark Wood, re­turn­ing from a third an­kle op­er­a­tion, im­pressed with some lively overs against Ire­land.

“Wood brings a bit of ex­tra pace, he’s got that X-fac­tor — he’s our quick­est bowler, he can get the ball to re­verse as well and he can be hard to han­dle,” said Bayliss.

Joe Root, one of five York­shire play­ers in Eng­land’s XI, was named man-of-the-match af­ter mak­ing an el­e­gant 73 dur­ing a part­ner­ship of 140 with cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan (76) and then tak­ing an ODI-best three for 52 with his handy off-spin.

“We’re build­ing mo­men­tum to­wards the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy and this was an­other step to­wards that,” said Root, Eng­land’s new Test cap­tain.

Ire­land cap­tain Wil­liam Porter­field led from the front on Sun­day with 82 as the Test aspirants re­stored some pride af­ter be­ing shot out for a mere 126 in Bris­tol.

At Lord’s, they were dis­missed for 243 just 23 balls from the sched­uled fin­ish, hav­ing made life awk­ward for Eng­land prior to Bairstow’s run-spree.

REUTERS PIC

Eng­land’s Jonny Bairstow in ac­tion dur­ing their sec­ond ODI against Ire­land on Sun­day.

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