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England avoid Ireland embarrassment

cricket Updated: Aug 28, 2009 11:52 IST

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England's Ashes celebrations almost came to an embarrassing end when they narrowly avoided defeat against Ireland, claiming a three-run victory through Duckworth/Lewis method in a one-day international in Belfast on Thursday.

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.

They spluttered to 203-9, with Oval hero Jonathan Trott and Ravi Bopara both dismissed without scoring, and only just managed to hold on as Ireland chased a revised total of 116 in 20 overs after a long rain delay.

Only debutant batsman Joe 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.

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.