Ashes heroes given reality check by Ireland
BELFAST: England's Ashes heroes were given a reality check as they spluttered to 203 for nine against Ireland in Thursday's one-day international in Belfast.
Just five days after regaining the famous urn with a 197-run victory over Australia in the final Test at the Oval, England seemed to be suffering a hangover from their champagne celebrations.
Although England brought a strong one-day squad to Stormont, minus captain Andrew Strauss, pace bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who both played at the Oval, were left out.
England also omitted former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan, which meant Oval hero Jonathan Trott, Kent batsman Joe Denly and Yorkshire spinner Adil Rashid all featured for the first time in a one-day international.
But Trott fell for nought in a disastrous start and only debutant Denly and Luke Wright impressed after England elected to bat in overcast conditions.
Opener Denly struck 67, while Wright's 36 injected the innings with impetus after England slipped to 135 for six.
An underwhelming start included Trott, whose brilliant hundred on Test debut set up the Oval victory, being trapped lbw by one which nipped back from Australian-raised Trent Johnston.
Opener Ravi Bopara, whose wretched time against the Australians led to his omission for the decisive, final Test, also went without scoring to Johnston, after edging a drive to second slip.
It was not until the 21st ball of the innings that England scored a run off the bat, when Denly found the rope at extra cover with a drive off Kevin O'Brien.
Johnston's opening spell of 6-2-7-2 caused the problems for England and was a perfect way for him to celebrate his 100th appearance for his adopted nation.
Matt Prior, captain Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah all perished to skied catches attempting big shots and when Denly was pinned leg before, attempting to swivel the returning Johnston to the leg-side, England were 135 for six.
England were in the middle of a batting powerplay at that point and Sussex all-rounder Wright responded with some powerful strokes.
Twice he cleared the ropes in a rapid 36, which dominated a stand of 42 with Rashid.
Only a brilliant catch by John Mooney, flinging himself full length on the run from long-off, halted the 26-ball assault.
That gave Johnston final figures of four for 26 in conditions perfect for his medium-fast repertoire.