sport news Ben Foakes and Tom Curran steer England to ODI victory over Ireland

It was meant to be the tale of an exciting debutant in Jofra Archer but instead Friday's opening match of England's biggest summer was all about another player making his one-day introduction in Ben Foakes leading his side to the most nail-biting of victories.

This looked sure to be a repeat of last year's upset against Scotland in Edinburgh when Ireland, inspired by a debutant of their own in 19-year-old business student Josh Little, reduced the No1 ranked side in the world to 66 for five chasing just 199 to win.

Yet Foakes, England's fourth choice white-ball keeper-batsman and highly unlikely to be picked for the World Cup, spared depleted England's blushes with a display of old-fashioned, proper batting just when they needed it most. 

Ben Foakes made 61 not out as England chased down 198 to beat Dublin after a difficult star

Ben Foakes made 61 not out as England chased down 198 to beat Dublin after a difficult star

Tom Curran was also unbeaten at the end as England won by four wickets in Dublin on Friday

Tom Curran was also unbeaten at the end as England won by four wickets in Dublin on Friday

First Foakes, who had earlier distinguished himself with an impudent stumping, put on 35 hard-earned runs with David Willey and then survived what should have been an lbw on 37 to make 61 off 76 balls and lead England home by four wickets in the company of Tom Curran, who finished unbeaten on 47, with 18 balls to spare.

How close England came to what would have been a damaging defeat against a team who did not even qualify for the World Cup when Little took four wickets with his brisk left-arm during a tigerish, outstanding Ireland fielding effort.

But they ultimately got out of jail at the end of a troubled week which saw Alex Hales thrown out of the squad at the will of captain Eoin Morgan and the senior players following his second failed test for recreational drug use.

This still turned into a bad day for those fringe batsmen given the chance, with seven first choice players missing through injuries and involvement in the Indian Premier League, to compete for the demoted Hales Cup place.

Admittedly, James Vince was the victim of a sensational catch by George Dockrell, Dawid Malan was impeded by what appeared to be a hamstring injury before he too was well caught by Gary Wilson and Joe Denly was also well snaffled by Kevin O'Brien.

But this did little to suggest England really do have strength in white-ball depth after four years of meticulous planning towards a tournament that is looming ever closer. 

Paul Stirling (right) topscored for Ireland with 33 before being caught by Jofra Archer (left)

Paul Stirling (right) topscored for Ireland with 33 before being caught by Jofra Archer (left)

Mark Adair was the only other Ireland batsman to surpass 30 and he was bowled by Archer

Mark Adair was the only other Ireland batsman to surpass 30 and he was bowled by Archer

At least England can be satisfied with their efforts with the ball with a small tantalising glimpse of what Archer can do in the bitter cold of Malahide seemingly bringing the best from those England bowlers most under threat for their own Cup places.

There was just a supporting role in what became a chastening day on his much-anticipated England debut for the most exciting young talent in world cricket.

Yet

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