Jacks, Hain, Rehan star for England as Scrimshaw comes through a dicey debut


Rehan Ahmed celebrates with his team-mates after dismissing Andy McBrineAFP/Getty Images

Rehan’s performance was a reminder of the true value of this contest to England – a chance for the coming men to gain experience, and make their mark ahead of the inevitable rebuild that is looming after the likes of Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid have had their last dance at next month’s World Cup.

And from the moment they were asked to bat first, England’s opening exchanges were dominated by two openers with clear designs on a more permanent ODI berth. Salt, somewhat outspoken last week about his place in the pecking order, opened his account with two fours in his first three balls; Jacks trumped that with three in his first four, and for a time thereafter, Ireland looked like being overwhelmed in a typical Trent Bridge-style blizzard of strokeplay.

Young’s introduction, however, offered some much-needed order. After signs of swing in his first over, he lured Salt into a loose drive to short cover with the first ball of his second, then nipped one back into Crawley’s pads to trap him for a two-ball duck, the only dampener on his captaincy debut.

Jacks then had a life on 44, when Tector at backward point couldn’t cling onto a low chance off McCarthy, but he quickly made Ireland pay with a magnificent launch for six over extra cover off the spin of McBrine, to bring up his fifty from 44 balls.

Ireland seemed little more than passive observers as England sauntered through their middle overs at a run a ball, with Jacks and Duckett barely breaking sweat in a stand of 102. But Duckett then knelt into a trademark paddle over fine leg off Dockrell to lob a simple chance to backward square for 48, before Jacks – with a century at his mercy – tried to reach it with one mighty blow and instead found Balbirnie lurking inside the rope to traipse off for 94 from 88.

And so it was over to Hain to guide England to the formidable total that their platform had promised. Having waited so long to make an impression, his opening gambit arguably reinforced the reasons why the selectors had tended to look elsewhere. He even played out a maiden from Adair in reaching 1 from his first 11 balls, and was then dropped at point while scuffing a cut off McCarthy.

But finally he landed a solid thump for four through long-on to settle his nerves, and thereafter Hain was into his stride, more confident in his interception points as he skittered out of his crease for another pair of meaty blows down the ground, while rocking back for an authoritative cut through point.

Brydon Carse, loftily placed at No. 7, kept Hain company in a 63-run stand for the sixth wicket that included a thump for six that sent an elderly gent sprawling for the crowd-catch, and after accelerating with purpose into the closing moments of his innings, a century was just about in Hain’s sights as he lined up for the last six balls of the innings from McCarthy, only for a leading edge to mid-off to end his hopes.

Still, he had done the needful to put a hefty score on the board. And despite their stutters, England’s bowlers duly closed out the job – with Scrimshaw, perhaps fittingly putting the seal on the deal with his third wicket of the day, as Little’s run-a-ball 29 ended with a launch to long-on.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket