|Specsavers Test, Lord’s (day one of four)|
|England 85 (Murtagh 5-13, Adair 3-32, Rankin 2-5)& 0-0|
|Ireland 207 (Balbirnie 55; Curran 3-28, Stone 3-29, Broad 3-52)|
|England trail by 122 runs|
Ireland bowler Tim Murtagh fulfilled a childhood dream by carving his name on the honours’ board at Lord’s – even if not for the team he’d always expected.
The Londoner took a superb 5-13 on the opening morning of Ireland’s historic first Test at the home of cricket.
Murtagh walked off before lunch holding the red ball in the air having helped bowl shell shocked England out for 85.
“Walking off having taken five wickets is as good a feeling as I’ve had in my career,” Murtagh said.
“It’s as special as it gets for any cricketer.
“Growing up as a kid I dreamed of being on that honours board, probably not in that (away) dressing room, but as it’s worked out being in the away dressing room makes it that bit more special now.”
Test cricket was not on the agenda when Murtagh, 37, transferred allegiance from England to Ireland in 2012.
However he was one of the lucky ones who got to pull on an Ireland shirt for the country’s first Test match in 2017 against Pakistan.
This Test with England is only Ireland’s third, and ‘insider’ knowledge from Murtagh, who regards Lord’s as a home from home having represented Middlesex since 2006, can only have been a help as the Irish XI walked out together on Wednesday morning.
“We were looking to bowl first, and I had a feeling they (England) would want to bat first, so I had my head around I’d be bowling the first ball this morning anyway.
“I should know how to bowl here by now. I’ve played for a number of years here and knew if I found my length hopefully I could cause a few problems.
“I said to the guys if we are disciplined and pitch the ball up, there’ll be enough in the wicket to cause a bit of damage.
“Our goal was to try and knock over three or four by lunch but everything went our way, reviews went our way, we took all our catches and the other bowlers did a really good job as well.”
Murtagh accepted that Ireland would have “snapped your hand off” on Wednesday morning if offered an overnight lead of 122.
The plan going out on Thursday, when they hope to be cheered on by another sizeable contingent of Irish fans, will be for more of the same.
“It may not happen as quickly for us as it did this morning, but we know the wicket is doing enough that if we bowl well, and bowl in the same areas, then we can make in-roads and put them under pressure again.”
Ireland ‘belongs on the world stage’
Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland Warren Deutrom insisted Ireland’s strong showing on day one against England proves the nation deserves its Test status, and has a team comfortable in an elite environment.
“We have a proud cricketing heritage and a growing playing and supporter base.
“We are also introducing new people to the sport – over recent days it has been quoted to me that around 50 per cent of tickets sold to this Test have been purchased by people who have never been to a cricket match before.
“So, performance on the pitch is certainly one thing we are proud of, but growing the number of people who enjoy and ultimately embrace our wonderful game is equally as important.”