England begin Champions Trophy preparations with 2-0 ODI series win over Ireland

England begin Champions Trophy preparations with 2-0 ODI series win over Ireland

England began their Summer of cricket with a comprehensive 2-0 series win over England in a pair of One-Day Internationals

Tom Hiscott

Ahead of an important few months for English cricket, the ODI team got their Summer off to the best possible start with a comprehensive 2-0 series win over Ireland

Starting in Bristol on Friday, five wickets from Adil Rashid led England to a one-sided seven wicket victory, while on Sunday at Lord's, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow all passed 70 as the series whitewash was completed following a 85-run win. 

England building momentum ahead of Champions Trophy

With the ICC Champions Trophy starting on home soil in less than a month, preparation is well under way for an England side who will be one of the favourites to take home the trophy.

Having named their 15-man squad, deciding on a final XI will be an extremely tough decision for the coaches, and form in a series like this could be crucial. 

Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were all away in India at the IPL which afforded opportunities to those pushing for a spot in the team come tournament time.

Adil Rashid celebrates one of his five wickets in Bristol (image source: Philip Brown-Getty Images)

In Bristol, all of the bowlers performed well as Ireland slumped to 126 all out in just 33 overs despite having been 81-2  early in their innings. 

Rashid was the star of the show, taking 5-27 in eight overs to register England's second best ODI bowling figures for a spinner, while Root chipped in with two wickets as Moeen Ali's chances of being selected became slimmer.  

Chasing a low total was probably not the best preparation for England's batsmen as they go in search of time in the middle, yet 55 from Alex Hales and an unbeaten 49 from Root were useful knocks in the seven wicket win.

Bairstow lays down marker with stunning Lord's knock

Arriving at Lord's for the second game of the series, England went with an unchanged side and were inserted by the Irish skipper Will Porterfield

Jason Roy (20) and Hales (32) both made promising starts before falling in quick succession, which was followed by a 140 third-wicket stand between Root and Eoin Morgan who made 73 and 76 respectively.

That partnership laid the foundations for the final 15 overs and it was Jonny Bairstow who took advantage with an eye-catching innings of 72*.

Given limited opportunities in the one-day side, Bairstow knows that he must take every opportunity afforded to him, and with Buttler at the IPL, and Sam Billings falling for just seven, his chances of taking part during the Champions Trophy have been given a huge boost. 

Bairstow, who smashed 174 from 113 during the week for Yorkshire, hit seven fours and three sixes to lead England past 300 with the help of his county colleague Rashid who played excellently for his 39 off 25 balls. 

Chasing 329 for victory, Ireland were never really in with a shout despite Porterfield making 82, with Liam Plunkett (3-23) and Mark Wood (2-38) doing well with the ball. 

Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett shared five wickets at Lord's (image source: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

England have three more ODIs at the end of the month against South Africa in Leeds, Southampton and London, before embarking on their highly-anticipated Champions Trophy campaign.