Ireland’s batting performance has improved, with Adair, McBrine, and Tector leading the way and Josh Tongue’s performance is impressive.
Resilient Ireland Forces England to Bat Again with Impressive Batting Display
England defeated Ireland 172 (Broad 5-51, Leach 3-35) and 362 (McBrine 86*, Adair 88, Tector 51, Tongue 5-66) by 10 wickets with 524 for 4 Dec (Pope 205, Duckett 182, Crawley 56, Root 56) and 12 for 0 (Crawley 12*).
It only took four balls and more than two sessions—as Ireland’s batters put up a tenacious performance to force the third evening of their Test against England when getting it to tea had seemed like a solid goal.
Zak Crawley hit three fours off the first four balls of the innings to surpass the 11-run goal, and Josh Tongue’s five-wicket haul on his Test debut placed his name on the Lord’s Honours board and the hosts on the verge of victory.
The fact that England was forced to bat again was down to a 163-run partnership between Mark Adair and Andy McBrine after Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker had laid the foundation with a fifty-run stand that signaled an improved Ireland batting performance compared to the first innings. Joking predictions abound about how long England’s golf-loving players would need to wait before booking their tee times.
After Adair was dismissed, McBrine continued to bat but was left stranded on 86 when Graham Hume was caught by Stuart Broad with the eighth ball after tea to finish Ireland’s second innings with a 10-run advantage.
Three wickets were taken by England in the morning session, including one that Josh Tongue took, leaving him one door short of the five-for to finish an intense week for the Worcestershire seamer. He was added to the team for this game when Ollie Robinson and James Anderson recovered from injuries, and he kept his spot next to them in the 16-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests, which was announced just before lunch.
He got a position on the joint honours board well before the planned lunch break, and with a ball that was 79 overs old when Josh Tongue got fellow debutant Fionn Hand out by edging a length ball just outside off stump to Crawley at slip.
Ireland four runs in front
After 81 overs, England grabbed the second new ball and immediately gave it to Josh Tongue. Still, McBrine and Hume resisted and went to tea undefeated on 85 and 9, respectively, with Ireland four runs in front.
Ireland was effectively 162 for 7 during the morning session as opener James McCollum left the game injured after withdrawing with a severely twisted ankle he suffered while batting on Friday evening. Although scans revealed no fracture, McCollum was forced to watch from the sidelines in a moon boot due to a suspected ligament injury.
In the first half of play on Saturday, Tector and Tucker, who had batted well the night before, added 29 runs to Ireland’s overnight total of 97 for 3. To finish comfortable 44-run innings and a 63-run fifth-wicket partnership, Jack Leach entered the fray and struck on the second ball as Tucker tried to sweep but only managed to draw the ball back onto the stumps with his glove.
When Joe Root came in, Curtis Campher had his sixth delivery muscled for six. Then Josh Tongue, who had earlier that day claimed all three of Ireland’s second-inning wickets, got back into the game and went for back-to-back fours by Campher, the first of which was a well-executed cover drive and the second of which was a total blunder through mid-on.
Tector reached a well-earned half-century by driving past mid-off and running two. Still, Tongue dismissed him with his subsequent delivery, a short, wide delivery that Tector delivered straight to the backward point where Harry Brook briefly juggled before holding on.
Ben Stokes was dismissed after Root asked Campher to sweep in the following over. This dismissal was noted for Stokes’ wince as he held his bothersome left knee and staggered after making the catch.
As lunchtime drew near, Adair took 15 off one Root over, including a six over deep midwicket to push Ireland over 200 and a commanding stroke over backward square leg for four. Adair had only made one run to the off-side when he got his fifty by diverting a short ball from Broad over the keeper’s head for four. Before threading a third boundary in succession beyond the gully, he carefully tucked the next edge to the rope via fine leg.
McBrine completed his fifty with a reverse sweep off Leach for four, and the pair needed just 155 more deliveries to reach their 150-run partnership. Matthew Potts removed Adair after being caught behind for 88 runs off just 76 balls after attempting an upper cut but only managing a light touch. Given the hosts’ continued dominance, Potts’ relief was palpable as he collapsed into Stokes’ arms to celebrate, perhaps less so because England had broken Ireland’s record Test partnership than because, after toiling through 17 overs of their second innings, he had finally added to his two wickets from Ireland’s first innings.
Although he said after the game that he felt great, Stokes still seems to be in a race against time to satisfy his desire to play as an allrounder against Australia. Josh Tongue, who had gone wicketless in Ireland’s first innings when Broad had a five-wicket haul, went in to capture his fifth wicket in any event.
The audience applauded when Hume hit two consecutive fours against Root, giving Ireland a one-run lead. Even after Broad took the final wicket, it was impossible to deny that the audience had been treated to a day considerably fuller than expected and had seen batting that Ireland would have preferred to have displayed on the first day. Read more cricket news here at Indibet India, the best cricket site in India.