|Specsavers Test, Lord’s (day one of four)|
|England 85: Murtagh 5-13, Adair 3-32, Rankin 2-5|
|Ireland: Yet to bat|
England were embarrassingly bowled out for 85 by Ireland on their return to Test cricket 10 days after winning the World Cup.
Just over a week before the Ashes begin, the fragility of England’s batting was once again exposed at Lord’s by an Ireland side playing only their third Test.
Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh, playing on his home ground, expertly exploited the hint of movement on offer to claim 5-13.
Only Joe Denly, Sam Curran and debutant Olly Stone reached double figures for England, who at one stage lost six wickets for seven runs and were bowled out before lunch to lose all 10 wickets in a single session for the fourth time in three years.
Whereas their one-day side proved they as the world’s best in that raucous final on this ground, England’s Test batting has been in a state of flux for seven years.
Here, with World Cup winner Jason Roy the latest to be given a chance at the top of the order, they were bowled out for their lowest total in a home Test for 22 years.
Now they face the prospect of having to match the relentlessness of the Ireland bowling if they are to avoid the prospect of going down to perhaps their most shocking Test defeat of all-time.
Ireland, whose long journey to Test status has included picking up famous scalps in the one-day game, have a golden opportunity for a victory that would top them all.
Timid England crumble
The suspicion that the unreliability of England’s batting would be their biggest obstacle when it comes to regaining the Ashes was confirmed on a baking morning at the home of cricket.
Captain Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat, only to see his team crumble in the face of Ireland bowling that was nagging and accurate but far from devastating.
Yes, there was a hint of movement, but nothing exaggerated. Still, England were tentative, hard-handed, without patience and too often deceived.
Roy pushed at Murtagh to be caught at first slip and opening partner Rory Burns closed the face on a drive off the same bowler to be caught behind.
In between, debutant Mark Adair nipped one back to trap Denly lbw and, after Root played all round one from the same bowler to also be leg before, Murtagh ripped through the middle order.
An agitated Jonny Bairstow played an inexplicably expansive drive to be bowled through the gate, Chris Woakes was lbw to one shaving the bails and Moeen Ali feathered a timid prod behind.
At one stage Murtagh, rarely topping 75mph, sent down 11 deliveries that yielded four wickets for only one run.
England had capitulated from 36-1 to 43-7 and if it had not been for the shots of Curran and Stone, the scorecard would have been even more shambolic.
‘This is an embarrassment’ – what they said
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special: “This is an embarrassment. No other word can describe what we’ve seen.
“We’ve seen this so often by England when the ball moves around.
“My wife is Irish. She’s been trying to ring me for half an hour now but I’m not answering and it’s staying that way.”
Former England batsman Alastair Cook on TMS: “I have no idea what is going on. When you face bowling at 75mph that moves, you still want to go at it because it’s slow.
“But you need to have the skill to play it later, under your eyes.”
Ireland bowler Tim Murtagh on Sky Sports: “I’m not quite sure what’s happened in the last two hours. It’s a dream just to play here in the first place. But to get on the honours board….
“It’s a fantastic first session for us. I didn’t think I’d be on the away honours board when I first started playing, but I’ll take it. I’m over the moon.”
TMS commentator Michael McNamee: “This is surely up there with Ireland’s finest moments in cricket. They are embarrassing the hosts at Lord’s.”
‘Does Cook have his kit in the car?’ – what you said
Matthew Staines: That is a truly pathetic performance. Absolutely no mettle, no patience, no application. It’s a Test match and England have utterly failed the test… again.
Anonymous: Any tips on how to explain this to two children whose last England experience was seeing them win the World Cup on TV?
Mithun, London: Can Tim Murtagh qualify for England?
Laura, Swindon: Obviously a deliberate ploy by England to lull Aussies into a false sense of security ahead of the Ashes.
Stuart F: I have tickets for day 3 of the Ashes Test at Lords. Seriously checking out the refund policy because I can’t see that match getting to day 3 on this showing!!!
John: Any chance Sir Alastair Cook has his kit in the car?
- England’s 85 is their ninth lowest in a home Test.
- It is their fifth shortest Test innings in terms of balls bowled – 23.4 overs.
- It is the fourth time they have been bowled out in a session since 2016.
- Tim Murtagh’s 5-13 is the earliest five-wicket haul by a bowler in a Test at Lord’s.