England impress before rain

England reduced their hosts to 56-4 after stand-in captain James Taylor elected to bowl, seamers Mark Wood and David Willey taking a wicket apiece on debut.

But with the rain getting heavier, umpires Mark Hawthorne and Ian Ramage took the??teams off the field and the downpour??led to the game??being called off shortly after 3pm.

England handed five players their one-day international bows in their first 50-over clash since the World Cup, with Durham???s Wood and Northamptonshire???s Willey joined in the XI by Surrey duo Jason Roy and Zafar Ansari and Hampshire batsman James Vince.

However, it was wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow who earned Taylor’s team their first breakthrough in the fourth over, running out Paul Stirling (2) after Ireland attempted a risky single.

Wood then forced home skipper William Porterfield (7) to chop onto his stumps, while Vince caught Niall O???Brien (10) at slip off Tim Bresnan after the batsman had been put down earlier on by Alex Hales.

Roy showed his sharpness in the cordon, diving expertly to his right to pouch Andrew Balbirnie (5) and hand Willey ??? whose dad, Peter, was watching in the Malahide stands ??? his first scalp in England colours.

Ed Joyce (23no) ??? who figured in 17 ODIs for England between 2006 and 2007 – was joined at the crease by Surrey???s Gary Wilson (3no) in the 17th over but play stopped shortly after and never restarted.

That meant frustration for England’s young guns, as well as Ireland, who had new coach John Bracewell at the match in a watching capacity after he was announced as Phil Simmons’ successor in late-April.

The big news before play was that, according to Sky sources, Andrew Strauss is “highly likely” to be named as the new Director of England Cricket at some stage next week.

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