MALAHIDE, Ireland - Eoin Morgan came home to Malahide and scored a match-winning hundred as England eased to a six-wicket victory over Ireland in the one-off, one-day international yesterday.
On the ground where he once played senior cricket in front of a handful of spectators as a 13-year-old, the Irishman took centre stage with almost 10,000 people watching to finish 124 not out, winning the match with his fourth six.
England captain Morgan, leading the side in the absence of the rested Alastair Cook, shared a world-record fifth-wicket ODI partnership of 226 with Ravi Bopara, who deservedly reached his century before England chased down their victory target of 270 with an almost ridiculous seven overs to spare.
Morgan's sixth ODI century (five for England and one for Ireland), made seven days short of his 27th birthday, saw him face 106 balls in total during his innings, with eight fours and four sixes.
Bopara's run-rate was even faster, the all-rounder facing 75 balls in all and hitting 15 boundaries, five of them clearing the fence as England enjoyed a morale-boosting win ahead of the five-match ODI series against Australia starting on Saturday.
Morgan wasn't the the only Irishman in English red yesterday.
Boyd Rankin, after 38 ODIs for Ireland, was given his debut and was England's most successful bowler, taking four for four as Ireland were restricted to 269 for seven.
William Porterfield dominated that innings, the captain scoring his 10th century for Ireland but his first in an ODI for three years since his 115 against Bangladesh at Stormont, still Ireland's only victory over a Full Member or Test nation on home soil.
It was a welcome return to form for the opening batsman who has lost his place in English county Warwickshire's four-day line-up.
But Porterfield's international statistics stand up with the best of them — this was his second hundred to add to four 50s in 10 innings.
However, for the second big match in row, Porterfield was let down by Ireland's bowlers.