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Morgan and Bopara stun Ireland

By Chris Devine

Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara shared a record-breaking partnership of 226 in 169 balls as England overcame a significant scare to defeat Ireland by six wickets in their sole one-day international meeting at Malahide.

The hosts looked to be on course for victory when England slipped to 48 for four in pursuit of 270, Tim Murtagh doing much of the damage with three wickets.

Yet England’s two most experienced batsmen - in the absence of several rested players - responded superbly with a fluent alliance that quickly tilted proceedings in England’s favour. They ultimately triumphed with seven overs unused.

Morgan recorded his first international hundred since September 2010 and finished unbeaten on 124 off 106 balls having displayed all of his trademark strengths - excellent use of the wrists, pinpoint placement and the ability to score freely all round the wicket with innovative strokeplay.

Bopara was no less impressive, progressing with an ease rarely seen at international level to 101 not out from 75 deliveries. His maiden ODI ton featured five sixes in the arc between long-on and midwicket.

England’s match-winning stand surpassed the previous record for the fifth wicket in ODIs, a partnership of 223 between Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja for India against Sri Lanka in 1997.

Ireland skipper Will Porterfield provided by far the most significant contribution to Ireland’s 269 for seven when striking 112, yet his fine innings was ultimately overshadowed.

The same could be said for Boyd Rankin’s return of 4-46 on his ODI debut for England, which was complemented by a probing 10-over spell from James Tredwell that yielded 2-35.

England’s reply started poorly in the face of disciplined new-ball bowling from two experienced campaigners.

Trent Johnston, 39, trapped Michael Carberry plumb in front at the start of the fourth over, and Murtagh removed Luke Wright and Gary Ballance in a double-wicket-maiden. Wright chopped on looking to run the ball down to third man and Ballance was caught behind making a late decision to leave.

James Taylor reached 25 before being bowled through the gate to become Murtagh’s third scalp.

Yet Morgan and Bopara remained ice-cool, initially keeping the required rate under control before gradually opening up to exhibit increasing command.

Bopara’s progress was both elegant and effortless, while Morgan proved typically proficient in his use of conventional and reverse sweeps as runs flowed freely during the middle overs.

It was notable that Ireland’s spinners - George Dockrell and Paul Stirling - found it difficult to offer any control, in sharp contrast to Tredwell before them, as both batsmen kept scoreless deliveries to a minimum.

After the skipper had reached 50 from 61 deliveries, Bopara brought up the century stand with the first of two successive sixes off Stirling and was soon acknowledging a 49-ball fifty of his own.

From that point on, there was no stopping either batsman and Morgan emulated Porterfield by reaching three figures with a six.

Morgan was subsequently dropped by Niall O’Brien on the boundary but by that stage England were home and hosed.

The dashing Bopara went four, six, four off Dockrell to end his wait for an ODI hundred and his partner finished things off with a pulled maximum that epitomised the shift in fortunes.

Earlier in the day, Rankin found extra bounce to have Stirling held at second slip by Ballance and then saw Ed Joyce tread on his stumps when playing back.

Porterfield remained fluent and brought up a 65-ball fifty with his ninth four, moments after Niall O’Brien had been bowled for 26 by a quicker ball from the accurate Tredwell.

England’s sole frontline spinner also accounted for Gary Wilson, lbw to one from round the wicket that turned back sharply, before Ireland rebuilt again through Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien.

The latter was just starting to look dangerous when he fell victim to an excellent diving catch at midwicket by Morgan off Bopara.

Only 16 runs came from the subsequent batting powerplay, which saw Carberry spill a second chance in the deep to reprieve Porterfield on 85.

Porterfield duly brought up his century in style with a maximum over midwicket off Rankin, but the bowler responded well, bowling the left-hander via boot for 112 and then pinning John Mooney in front for 27.

Mooney’s exit left Ireland 229 for seven, but Max Sorensen and Johnston added 40 from the remaining 25 balls, the former taking Steven Finn for two sixes.

Match Scorecard

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England Innings

5:54pm - END OF MATCH - ENG 274/4 AND WIN BY SIX WICKETS; Morgan 124*, Bopara 101* - Captain Morgan finishes things off with a pulled six, England ultimately easing home with seven overs to spare. Morgan and Bopara's sensational unbroken stand is the highest for the fifth wicket in ODI history!

5:52pm - CENTURY! Bopara (74b 10x4 5x6) - Wow! Bopara goes four, six, four off Dockrell to reach three figures - for the first time in ODIs - in breathtaking style!

5:50pm - MISSED CHANCE - Morgan is put down in the deep by Niall O'Brien but it matters little now with just 17 required.

5:48pm - 200 PARTNERSHIP! - This is now a new record stand for England's fifth wicket in ODIs, comfortably surpassing the 174 put on by Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff against India at The Oval in 2004. "Masterclass sums it up very well indeed," says Bob Willis in the Sky commentary box.

5:42pm - Bopara's serene progress continues with another six in the arc between long-on and midwicket, followed by a lofted straight four. Morgan also strikes a maximum in an over from O'Brien yielding 22 and this game is all but over.

5:32pm - Back-to-back fours on either side of the wicket from Bopara hurry England ever closer to the winning post. What a partnership this has been.

5:29pm - CENTURY! Morgan (94b 7x4 2x6) - Anything Porterfield can do, Morgan can do too. He lofts Johnston over the cover rope to bring up a magnificent hundred.

5:28pm - The stand passes 150 and England need less than a run a ball.

5:22pm - Morgan is on to 90 from as many balls and has had the bulk of the strike recently. Yet it is Bopara who continues to produce the most eye-catching strokes, epitomised by another six over midwicket, this time off Mooney.

5:13pm - The batting powerplay is enforced after a drinks break. Johnston returns and, with 94 required from 90 deliveries, this is a crucial period.

5:04pm - FIFTY! Bopara (49b 4x4 2x6) - The landmarks keep on coming. You are unlikely to see many half-centuries more effortless than the one Bopara has compiled today.

5:02pm - John Mooney is unable to stem the tide, conceding 12 in his first over. Having been in real trouble an hour ago, England now need 103 from 102 balls.

4:56pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP - Will Porterfield brought up his own hundred with a six earlier today. Now Bopara takes his partnership with Morgan into three figures in similar fashion, striking Stirling for a huge maximum over midwicket. The next ball also disappears into the stands!

4:50pm - FIFTY! Morgan (61b 4x4 0x6) - A couple of quieter overs lift home spirits before Morgan brings up his first ODI half-century in 2013. He celebrates by lofting Dockrell over wide mid-on for six!

4:42pm - England's fifth-wicket pair have quickly turned the tide here, although there is plenty of work still to do. Another swept four from Morgan leaves 149 required from 24 overs. Both batsmen are scoring freely.

4:35pm - Dockrell and fellow spinner Paul Stirling are utilised in tandem for the first time today. Morgan, using conventional and reverse sweeps to good effect, has dashed to 38, while the similarly assured Bopara is unbeaten on 21.

4:27pm - A powerful sweep off Dockrell brings Morgan his second boundary and England’s captain finds the fence again when O’Brien delivers a dreadful long hop.

4:20pm - Kevin O’Brien is on alongside Dockrell now as the required rate sneaks towards seven an over. Morgan responds with a fluent cover-driven four and England are 77 for four after 21.

4:13pm - Morgan almost pops up a return catch to Murtagh, who has bowled his full allocation in one long spell for figures of 3-33.

4:05pm - England now have their most experienced batsmen at the crease in Morgan and Ravi Bopara. The latter looks in good touch, punishing rare short balls from Murtagh with boundaries through point and extra-cover. It's time for some spin from George Dockrell.

3:54pm - WICKET! Taylor b Murtagh 25; Eng 48/4 - Taylor picks up a streakier boundary off Murtagh courtesy of an edge through the vacant first slip region, only to be bowled through the gate later in the over. Murtagh is on fire and has 3-22.

3:44pm - Max Sorensen, seemingly the quickest member of Ireland’s attack, takes over from Johnston but struggles to exercise similar control in an over yielding five singles. Taylor then collects his second cover-driven four, this time off Murtagh.

3:35pm - A thick edge from Morgan off Murtagh flies past Kevin O’Brien in the gully. England could certainly do with a partnership now.

3:24pm - WICKET! Ballance c Wilson b Murtagh 0; Eng 25/3 - Not a happy ODI debut for Gary Ballance! He looks to leave his second ball but gets a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Gary Wilson. Eoin Morgan has a rescue job on his hands as he strides out to join Taylor. Murtagh completes a double-wicket-maiden.

3:22pm - WICKET! Wright b Murtagh 5; Eng 25/2 - Murtagh gets deserved reward for his efforts as Wright, attempting to run the ball down to third man, chops on.

3:20pm - Wright is fortunate not to be adjudged lbw when Murtagh shapes one in. Johnston then sends another one past Taylor’s edge and this is tough going for England against disciplined new-ball bowling. Taylor eases some of the pressure with a driven four through the covers.

3:11pm - Johnston, who retires at the end of the year, is 39 now but remains a very capable seamer. He beats James Taylor all ends up in a fine over, which is marred slightly by wides on either side of the wicket.

3:07pm - A swivel pull brings Wright his first four. England end the fifth over on 17 for one.

2:57pm - WICKET! Carberry lbw Johnston 10; Eng 11/1 - Carberry survives a hugely optimistic lbw appeal facing Murtagh, only to then be trapped plumb in front by the first ball of the next over, which seamed back in to the left-hander.

2:53pm - Murtagh and Trent Johnston start well with the ball, but Carberry is able to collect a glanced four from the latter.

2:45pm - Michael Carberry, who didn't have the best of times in the field, and Luke Wright begin England's pursuit of 270. Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh provides the initial threat.

Ireland Innings

2:01pm - END OF INNINGS - Ire 269/7; Sorensen 24, Johnson 12 - Sorensen takes Finn for another maximum in the final set of six, which ends with a straight-driven four from Trent Johnston. Ireland have posted a seemingly handy total. We'll be back shortly to see if England can overhaul it.

1:53pm - My mistake - Stokes is called upon for the penultimate over and a fine pulled four from Sorensen takes Ireland past 250.

1:48pm - Finn and Rankin will finish things off here. The former is pulled for six by Max Sorensen to give Ireland a welcome boost.

1:40pm - WICKET! Mooney lbw Rankin 27; Ire 229/7 - Rankin is again rewarded for finding the blockhole as he traps Mooney in front.

1:35pm - WICKET! Porterfield b Rankin 112; Ire 224/6 - But Porterfield will not be adding to his total. He looks to open up the off side and is bowled via his boot as Rankin follows him to leg with a yorker.

1:34pm - Porterfield moves to 112 in an expensive over from Stokes that sees Ireland reach 224. We have five more to come.

1:29pm - Mooney is starting to settle and England will be keen to keep a lid on things in the closing overs.

1:18pm - CENTURY! Porterfield (131b 13x4 1x6) - This is some way to bring up a hundred! Porterfield smears Rankin high over midwicket for six!

1:17pm - With plenty of turn on offer, Morgan gives Carberry a bowl. The decision backfires as the part-time off-spinner concedes 12 in his first over.

1:13pm - Despite Carberry's second spill in the field, England will be happy with their efforts in that powerplay. Only 16 runs were scored and Ireland are 179 for five with 10 overs to come.

1:06pm - MISSED CHANCE - Oh dear! Carberry puts down another chance in the deep, this time reprieving Porterfield off Stokes. He is usually such a wonderful fielder.

12:57pm - Porterfield, now 85 not out, looks to have got stuck and new batsman John Mooney is still finding his feet. This is a good period for England.

12:53pm - The first over of the batting powerplay, bowled by Finn, brings only one. The departure of O'Brien really could not have come at a worse time for Ireland.

12:45pm - WICKET! O'Brien c Bopara b Morgan 23; Ire 161/5 - What a catch!! And what a big scalp this could be for England as the batting powerplay looms. Having pulled for four earlier in Bopara's sixth over, O'Brien goes for the shot again and is superbly taken at midwicket by Eoin Morgan, diving to his right.

12:39pm - Porterfield survives a scare against Tredwell when a thick edge flies past Ballance at slip. Wright’s second over is a big improvement on his first, with the exception of one loose delivery that O’Brien cuts for four. Tredwell bowls his 10th over off the reel for fine figures of 2-35.

12:31pm - O’Brien offers a reminder of his power, sweeping Tredwell from outside off stump for a flat four. Luke Wright becomes the sixth bowler to be used but gives away 11 in his first over, the 30th, which ends with Ireland 140 for four. Porterfield has 76.

12:23pm - Finn returns with an impressive over. Ireland's new batsman is Kevin O'Brien, who famously smashed 113 to guide his side to victory over England in the 2011 World Cup.

12:16pm - WICKET! Wilson lbw Tredwell 2; Ire 121/4 - Bopara continues to prove expensive when offering up more width than usual but Tredwell strikes again, trapping Wilson lbw from round the wicket.

12:11pm - Tredwell’s control and variation of pace have been immaculate thus far and there is appreciable spin on offer for the Kent captain. He completes his sixth over with figures of 1-21 and Ireland have 115 for three at halfway.

12pm - FIFTY! Porterfield (65b 9x4 0x6) - There is warm applause from the crowd as Ireland’s leader pulls the returning Bopara past mid-on to pass 50. He now has Gary Wilson for company.

11:58am - WICKET! O'Brien b Tredwell 26; Ire 95/3 - That's a lovely riposte from Tredwell, who pushes one through a touch quicker and still finds turn to bowl O'Brien.

11:57am - Stokes does give up four as O’Brien glances a leg-side delivery to the rope. Sloppy fielding from Ballance allows the wicketkeeper to claim another boundary via a thick outside edge off Tredwell that only just beat Jos Buttler.

11:51am - MISSED CHANCE - Stokes is doing a handy job and has yet to give up a boundary. The reliable Tredwell finds sharp turn to beat O’Brien, who then top-edges a sweep only to be put down by Michael Carberry, running in from the midwicket fence. I’m afraid to say that was a dolly.

11:40am - Porterfield continues to find the fence frequently, reverse sweeping James Tredwell for his eighth four. Ireland end the 15th over on 73 for two and it’s time for a drink.

11:29am - A Porterfield single takes Ireland to 50 in 12 overs and the skipper subsequently eases Bopara through extra-cover on two occasions. It’s tough to know what would constitute a good score. There is movement on offer for the seamers but the outfield is extremely fast.

11:21am - O’Brien breaks the shackles when pulling Rankin for four, although the ball only just evaded a diving James Taylor at square-leg. With the powerplay completed, Ravi Bopara is introduced in place of Finn and concedes four through backward point to Porterfield. Another bowling change sees Ben Stokes come on at the Dublin Road End.

11:12am - Porterfield ducks into a short delivery from Finn and takes a blow to the helmet. England have dragged things back nicely, just three runs coming from the last four overs. Niall O'Brien is the new batsman.

11:05am - WICKET! Joyce hit wicket b Rankin 1; Ire 36/2 - Well this is a strange one! A bail comes off when Rankin bowls to Ed Joyce. The bowler, seemingly the only man to notice, politely appeals and TV replays show the left-hander trod on his stumps playing back. He has to go!

11:02am - Porterfield refuses to be cowed by the loss of his opening partner and collects two off-side fours from Finn. England’s new-ball pair tighten things up thereafter and the score reads 36 for one after seven overs.

10:45am - WICKET! Stirling c Ballance b Rankin 10; Ire 25/1 - Intriguingly, we currently have batsmen from Warwickshire and Middlesex facing bowlers from the same counties. Or at least we did! Stirling punishes successive full deliveries from Rankin with cover-driven fours, but then edges to second slip when the England paceman finds a better length. Another debutant, Gary Ballance, holds on comfortably to complete the dismissal.

10:38am - Rankin’s second delivery is speared way down the leg side for five wides. Another loose delivery is clipped fine by Porterfield and Ireland are 14 without loss.

10:33am - Porterfield glances off his hip for four but is unable to lay bat on ball for the remainder of the first over. Here comes big Boyd Rankin...

10:30am - Steven Finn opens the bowling for England. Paul Stirling, likely to be Ireland's danger man, and skipper Will Porterfield are the men tasked with getting the home innings off to a good start.

Pre-Play News 

10:23am - England's exciting batting order should hopefully provide plenty of entertainment later today. For now, though, it is the turn of the bowlers to impress. Debutant Rankin will certainly be keen to make an impression against the country of his birth.

10:12am - It is fair to say England have named a lengthy batting line-up, while Ireland have eight players with county experience in their side. Here are the teams in full:

England: Michael Carberry, Luke Wright, James Taylor, Gary Ballance, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin.

Ireland: Will Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Gary Wilson, Kevin O'Brien, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, George Dockrell, Tim Murtagh, Max Sorensen.

10:03am - ENGLAND WIN TOSS AND BOWL - With a number of senior players rested following the Investec Ashes, England - led by Eoin Morgan - hand ODI debuts to Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry, Yorkshire's Gary Ballance and Warwickshire seamer Boyd Rankin. Morgan wins the toss and inserts the hosts.

9:55am - Morning everyone. England have six matches remaining in their international summer, starting with today's sole ODI against Ireland at Malahide CC. Play starts at 10:30am and we will have news from the toss shortly.

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