Great Britain

England shocked by Ireland as magnificent Paul Stirling smashes century to down Eoin Morgan’s world champions


ENGLAND’S World Champions were humbled by Ireland in Southampton on Tuesday night when they failed to defend a total of 328.

Chunky opening Paul Stirling played a magnificent, thunderous innings of 142 from 128 balls which included six monster sixes over mid-wicket

And captain Andy Balbirnie contributed 113 as the pair put on 214 for the second wicket.

Then it was left to Kevin O’Brien and Harry Tector to apply the finishing touches.

O’Brien was the man who scored a famous century when Ireland surpassed England’s total of 327 in Bangalore during the 2010 World Cup.

Stirling was dropped on 95 (James Vince) and 106 (Jonny Bairstow) before he was finally run out by Tom Curran’s gather and underarm flick at the bowler’s end.

When Balbirine holed out at long-off shortly afterwards, Ireland’s chase looked like it might stall. But Tector and the veteren O’Brien kept their cool.

England’s bowling lacked penetration or inspiration and, even though they won the series 2-1, they clearly missed the likes of Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes - who are all with the Test squad.

After England’s top three departed cheaply, captain Eoin Morgan, batting in his normal position of No.4 for the first time in the series, thrashed his way to a century from just 78 balls.

He was scoring so easily and so quickly that he must have been contemplating something enormous before skying a catch into the offside for 106.

Morgan tweaked a groin muscle and was unable to field so vice-captain Moeen Ali took charge. Morgan must have been frustrated watching from afar as England’s produced a flat performance in the field.

Somerset’s Tom Banton made his first fifty for England and helped Morgan put on 146 for the fourth wicket. But England lost four wickets for 26 and, instead of making 350-plus, had to settle for 328 all out.

They made that many only because David Willey scored 51 and continued his superb series with bat and ball.

Stuart Broad becomes just seventh bowler to reach 500 Test wickets as England thump West Indies by 269 runs

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