England head coach Trevor Bayliss believes his side are primed for the tough examinations which lay in wait this summer after completing a one-day series whitewash with an 85-run victory over Ireland at Lord’s.
Test captain Joe Root starred with both bat and ball, scoring 73 as England posted 328-6 from their 50 overs. One-day skipper Eoin Morgan top-scored for the hosts with 76, while Jonny Bairstow struck a barn-storming 72 not out.
Captain Will Porterfield led the Ireland charge with 82, as opener Paul Stirling struck 48 although England ultimately had too much, dismissing the visitors for 243. Root (3-52) and Yorkshire team-mate Liam Plunkett (3-23) both claimed three wickets apiece.
England now face South Africa in a three-game 50-over series before their Champions Trophy begins on 1 June with a showdown with Bangladesh at the Kia Oval.
“It’s nice to start the summer with two wins, and we’ve had some good performances in those games,” said Bayliss.
“We know there are sterner tests coming up, with South Africa in a couple of weeks’ time and then the Champions Trophy after that, but we have won well and we can’t do anything more than that.”
Bayliss singled out two players, Bairstow and seamer Mark Wood, who claimed 2-38 during his second game back following his latest ankle operation, for praise as selection battles intensify.
“I think there’s probably not a lot between the three wicketkeepers [Jos Buttler, Bairstow and Sam Billings] but the amount of runs Jonny scores, it’d be hard to leave him out,” added Bayliss. “Every time we give him a go, he gets the job done for us.
“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.”
Bairstow’s rapid 72 came off just 44 deliveries and contained seven fours and three maximums, while he was accompanied in his late-innings destruction by Adil Rashid, who clubbed 39 off 25 balls.
England beat Ireland by seven wickets in the first one-day clash at Bristol on Friday.