Stumps day 1 – Ireland 207 all out (Balbirnie 55, Stirling 36, Curran 3/28, Stone 3/29) lead England 85 all out (Denly 23, Murtagh 5/13, Adair 3-32) and 0-0 by 122 runs.
Ireland enjoyed a fantastic first day of Test Cricket at Lord’s, rolling England for 85 moving into a lead of over a hundred runs at stumps heading into day two.
Tim Murtagh, who has taken almost 300 of his 800 First Class wickets at Lord’s for Middlesex, took just 7.2 overs and 63 minutes into the morning session to etch his name on the away honour board at the home of cricket. Catching the edge of Moeen Ali for his fifth scalp, Murtagh and the rest of the Irish attack ripped England apart, before their batsmen passed the hosts’ total well before tea.
Stumbling from 36/1 to 43/7 before drinks in the first session of play, Stuart Broad and Sam Curran ensured England passed their lowest total at Lord’s, 53 set back in 1888. Rearguard action from debutante Olly Stone pushed the potential score off the first page in the lowest totals chapter of the record books, but could do little to stop his side falling to a score of under three figures.
Earlier, Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat, though Irish captain William Porterfield remained positive, telling the host broadcaster that while conditions above may have been conducive to batting, his side had the potential to make inroads in the first couple of hours of play.
Picked off the back of a barnstorming World Cup campaign, Jason Roy’s technical faults in red ball cricket were exposed as early as the second over. Trapped in front, Roy was lucky that Mark Adair had overstepped with his fifth ball in Test cricket. Adair’s misstep went unpunished, with his new ball partner coming to his rescue. With the typical Murtagh line and length drawing the shot, Roy’s reaching, hard hands led to an outside edge, with Paul Stirling holding on to a low slips catch, wedging the ball between his wrists.
Auditioning for an Ashes number three spot, Joe Denly hit consecutive boundaries off Adair to settle the nerves, though was to fall to him soon after. Denied minutes before by his unforced error, Adair struck Denly falling over slightly, to claim his first Test scalp.
With England 36/2 inside ten overs, Ireland would have felt that another two or three scalps would be a winning session. To take all ten in a session though? No four leaf clover collection could make that happen by luck. Murtagh and Adair ran riot, with Rory Burns, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes tumbling within 15 balls.
Burns fell to the crafty seam of Murtagh, edging to Wilson, with Root trapped plumb LBW to Adair next over, thanks to a review confirming the two noises heard were both the captain’s pads. Murtagh attacking the stumps claimed Bairstow and Woakes, with neither able to open their account. Keeping scorers and commentators on their toes, Murtagh pick up his fifth in his next over.
Former English international Boyd Rankin at second change kept the foot down for the Irish, with his tactic to bowl at the body of Broad reaping immediate rewards. Appealing for a turned-down caught behind, ‘keeper Gary Wilson, who dived well to his right to take the catch, begged Porterfield to review after Broad feathered the edge. UltraEdge confirmed Wilson’s claim, and English players in the sheds were left scratching their heads at 60/8.
Similar to their horror show against New Zealand in March 2018 where they stumbled to 27/9, England’s tailenders countered with some success. In Auckland Craig Overton slashed away to end 33*, with Curran and Olly Stone entrusted to do the same job this time around.
Porterfield’s tactics played more than a supporting role in Curran’s dismissal, with Rankin forcing a poke from the left-hander straight to James McCollum at a forward short leg pushed back slightly. Stone attacked Stuart Thompson with gusto, though Adair finished the job, as his short ball found the stumps via the batsman’s elbow. England finished all out for 85 – they have been bowled out for under three figures this year – with the other occasion in January during their horror West Indies tour.
Murtagh, who finished with figures of 5/13 off nine overs, almost couldn’t believe what happened.
“I’m not quite sure what’s happened the last two hours to be honest,” he told the host broadcaster, Sky Sports, after taking Ireland’s first Test five-wicket haul.
“It’s just a dream to perform like that and to have my name up there on the honours board.
“I should know how to bowl on this ground, that was key, to get it up there and let the pitch do a little bit of work.”
Ireland’s start was watchful, with captain Porterfield and James McCollum making an effort to play the swinging ball as late as possible. Negotiating the first ten overs with little fuss, quick Olly Stone managed to unsettle Porterfield with a well-directed short ball to the helmet. After taking an impromptu drinks break for the medical team to check on the left-hander, Porterfield responded with a confident cover drive when play resumed.
Despite this, Porterfield threw his innings away in the next over. Miscuing his pull shot to Jack Leach at mid wicket, the Irish captain gave Sam Curran a wicket first ball of his spell, from nothing more than a tame short ball.
Former Middlesex man Andy Balbirnie strode out at three, and remained watchful before jumping on a Sam Curran half volley to open his account. At the other end, McCollum survived a scare on 11, with Rory Burns at short leg interested in a bat pad catch chance off Olly Stone.
McCollum looked organised in defence and unperturbed by any English pressure, rewarding himself by making the most of the likes of Curran and others straying down the leg side.
Stuart Broad switched to the nursery end of the ground to change England’s fate, though it was Curran’s decision to go around the wicket that brought a second scalp. The change of angle brought an inside edge onto the stumps, with McCollum playing slightly down the wrong line. Curran had half a shout for LBW next ball to Paul Stirling, though this time the angle worked against him.
A full blooded Stirling drive failed to carry to Roy at second slip, though when a chance popped up in the cordon, no one took ownership. Broad found the outside edge of Balbirnie’s blade, though Bairstow left the chance for Joe Root at first slip, who was too wide to make a play at it.
Jack Leach was brought in with his left-arm orthodox, though Stirling’s premeditated plan of sweeping him brought more pain to England. Forcing a change to the field, Stirling made the hosts do the tactical chasing. Root was given a lifeline by Stirling in the next over with a chance, though the skipper put down a fairly regulation catch.
Ireland passed England’s first innings total with an emphatic Balbirnie square drive, once again pouncing on England’s wide and overpitched fast bowling. Though the man known as Balbo complimented his power with touch, paddling and pushing Moeen for boundaries to push Ireland over one hundred. In that time, the pair of Stirling and Balbirnie brought up their fifty partnership at better than a run a ball.
At 127/2, Ireland would have been more than satisfied at the tea break, though England ensured the visitors were kept within reach. Stirling was given out on field with a 50/50 LBW call going Broad’s way, with Balbirnie squared up and beaten by Stone for his first Test wicket soon after. Stone’s pace and bounce was too much for Gary Wilson in the same over, and England found their mojo with the ball. Movement in the air was almost more prevalent in the final session of the day, and England channeled it with great effect.
Struggling to find a partner to hang around with him, Kevin O’Brien saw Stuart Thompson cleaned up shouldering arms to Stuart Broad for a duck, and Mark Adair pulling onto his own stumps for three.
Andy McBrine showed respite at number nine, though edged onto his stumps with the lead at 89, handing Stuart Broad his 440th Test wicket to pass Dale Steyn to move to 7th on the all-time list.
For all his bowling heroics, Murtagh was able to fit a batting cameo to end the day. As Broad continued to dig in short, Murtagh swiped and swatted four boundaries in a knock of 16 off 10, before finding Rory Burns in the deep. Rankin fell to Moeen Ali to end the innings, awkwardly forcing England to face one over at the end of the day. Roy on debut was granted a nightwatchman, with Jack Leach sent out to see the evening out.