John Bracewell took charge of the Irish team in April 2015    Getty Images
John Bracewell took charge of the Irish team in April 2015 Getty Images

London: Ireland coach John Bracewell said his side would have to learn to cope with the “huge external pressure” that contributed to their crushing defeat by England if they were to see an upturn in their fortunes. England strolled to a seven-wicket win in Friday’s first One-Day International (ODI) at Bristol after Ireland were dismissed for a meagre 126 in a mere 33 overs. It was an unhappy return to a ground former New Zealand off-spinner Bracewell knows well from his time coaching county side Gloucestershire. Next month could see Ireland granted the Test status they have long sought by the International Cricket Council. But their recent 7-2 reverse across three formats against fellow Test aspirants Afghanistan in India was an indication of how they are struggling to match the standards of previous Ireland teams that beat major nations at several World Cups. Full Cricket Scorecard: England vs Ireland 2nd ODI at Lord s

Ireland, however, will have the chance to make quick amends for Friday’s reverse — their first fixture against England in England — when they conclude the two-match series with a maiden international at Lord’s, the ‘Home of Cricket’, in northwest London, on Sunday. “They are having huge external pressure put on them, carrying the nation’s hope through hundreds of years of history,” Bracewell told reporters at Lord’s on Saturday. “It is something we were probably sweeping under the carpet a little bit and trying to pretend it wasn’t there, but they’ve recognised that. I think yesterday they really felt that. If you’re going to have a bad day, you may as well crash — and yesterday we did.” READ: Wood feared injuries would cut short his international career

Former England batsman Steve James, writing in The Times, said Friday’s loss proved several Ireland players were a “long way past their best” six years on from a stunning 2011 World Cup win over England in Bangalore. But Ireland captain William Porterfield, who began his professional career at Lord’s as an MCC Young Cricketer, defended the current side. “You do not become bad players overnight,” said Porterfield, a batsman with English county side Warwickshire. “I think it would be very harsh to judge [Ireland’s] Test status on a one-off performance.”

Ireland wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien is still experiencing pain in his finger arising from surgery last year but trained at Lord’s on Saturday. Nevertheless, Ireland have called up batsman John Anderson as middle-order cover while they wait for the results of a scan on O’Brien’s injury.