In the first of three one-day-internationals between the sides at the Ageas Bowl, England claimed a six-wicket win over Ireland and look well poised to seal the series with victory on Saturday.
A hopeless performance from Ireland’s top order put them in danger of a thrashing but an unbeaten 59 from 21-year-old Curtis Campher and a knock of 40 from Andy McBrine saw them bowled out for 172.
England required only 27.5 overs to chase that total down but they too were not without their faults, having stumbled to 78/4 before Sam Billings (67*) and Eoin Morgan (36*) got them back on track.
With England required to keep their Test and ODI squads separate, the hosts have had to field somewhat of a second-string white-ball side against the Irish but remain firm favourites to win the second ODI.
They are 1/12 to prevail in the second match in Southampton while they can be backed at 1/8 to win the series 3-0.
Misfiring Test batsman Joe Denly missed England’s first one-day-international encounter with Ireland after suffering spasms in training and has now been ruled out of the remaining two matches with a back problem.
Denly is replaced by Liam Livingstone in the squad but otherwise punters should expect a similar England side to turn out at the Ageas Bowl.
Batsmen James Vince and Tom Banton should get opportunities to make amends for their poor performances while David Willey can be expected to open the bowling once again after his five-wicket haul.
As for Ireland, debutant Harry Tector should get another bite at the cherry while bowler Barry McCarthy, who limped off the field after bowling only five balls in the first game, is suffering from a knee concern.
England highest opening partnership - BET NOW
Top-order batsmen has been an area causing England selectors headaches across all formats but the home side’s top two should have no problem out-scoring Ireland’s openers.
In the last six innings by batsmen operating at one and two for Ireland, only one (Paul Stirling v West Indies in January) has reached the half-century mark.
Stirling and Gareth Delany managed only 24 runs between them last time and could disappoint again in Hampshire.
Team of Top Batsman - Ireland - BET NOW
He was not Ireland’s top scorer in the first ODI but experienced Kevin O’Brien put on a steady 22 and that was not the first time he has shown composure on the Ageas Bowl surface.
O’Brien also scored 28 in Southampton against England Lions and blasted an unbeaten 126 in an intra-Ireland contest there, so it could pay to back him to top score for the tourists.
Jonny Bairstow top England batsman - BET NOW
Jonny Bairstow was among the biggest disappointments in the first ODI, scoring a miserly two runs off seven deliveries and he still has a point to prove after being dropped from the Test set-up.
In an intra-squad warm-up match before this series, he scored 127 runs off 88 balls and during a successful 2019 World Cup, he scored 45 runs at this venue against the West Indies. He is a good bet to top score for England.
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The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
The game is available on Sky Sports, while the BBC has highlights.