Just ten days after winning the World Cup in the most dramatic circumstances and a mere week before the beginning of the Ashes, a warm-up match against an Ireland side who have played, and lost, just two Test matches seemed to be the perfect tonic to continue England's momentum.
With several World Cup heroes rested, captain Joe Root named an experimental but exciting side that contained numerous faces with points to prove in the red ball format. Yet it was the Test newcomers from across the water that came out on top during an opening day of action that saw 20 wickets fall.
Following his exploits with the bat over the past seven weeks, Jason Roy was granted his first Test cap as he opened the batting with Rory Burns who has regularly impressed at First Class level but is yet to make a mark for England.
However, both players were early victims of five-for hero Tim Murtagh as the opening minutes set the tone for a brief England innings that concluded within just one session for the fourth time in the last three years.
Failing to deal with a swinging ball, England continuously prodded at deliveries rather than playing strokes under their eyes as Joe Denly, who just missed out on a World Cup place, top-scored with a mere 23.
England crumbled from 36-1 to 43-7 as Murtagh picked up four wickets for just one run, finishing with figures of 9-2-13-5. After tearing through a middle order from number four to seven that racked up just two runs between them, a brief resistance from Sam Curran and Olly Stone was not enough to see England to three-figures as Mark Adair chipped in with three wickets and Boyd Rankin picked up another two for the loss of just five runs.
Balbirnie 50 opens healthy Irish lead
Hunting down a deficit of just 85, Ireland got off to a shaky start as Curran dismissed both openers for just 20 apiece. Yet Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling picked up the conditions quicker than anyone else as they made 87 for the third wicket, Balbirnie eventually reaching 50 as Chris Woakes in particular struggled to have an impact.
Yet England started to fight back through the rest of their seam attack as Curran, Stuart Broad and Stone finished with three wickets each. As Stirling and Balbirnie departed within three overs of each other, Ireland collapsed from 132-2 to 149-7.
However, the visitors managed to muster a potentially critical 58 runs for the last three wickets as the experienced Kevin O'Brien was unbeaten for over two hours despite scoring just 28 runs, whilst Murtagh manufactured 16 with all his runs coming from boundaries.
Ireland were eventually dismissed for 207 before night watchman Jack Leach saw off one over from Murtagh to end the day with England 122 runs behind.