It’s been a long wait for fans of test cricket due to the World Cup (congratulations to England for winning it), but the white kits and red ball returned to Lord’s Cricket Ground in London with a four-day fixture between England and Ireland. And Day 1 did not disappoint. Well, that is if you’re not English. In Ireland’s third-ever test and Lord’s debut, things couldn’t have gone more perfectly.
After losing the toss, Ireland bowled England out for just 85, at the same ground in which England had won the World Cup ten days ago! The hero of the day was fast bowler Tim Murtagh who took five wickets in nine overs at his home ground. After lunch, Ireland scored 207, giving themselves a lead of 122 runs and giving England one over to bat again. Along with Murtagh, let’s see who else won the hearts of the Irish on Day 1 and who disappointed the hopes of the English.
Winner: Tim Murtagh
At this point, I’m pretty sure Ireland’s team meeting went something like this: “Hand the ball to Tim, hope for the best.” Well, his day couldn’t be any brighter than the smile on his face after walking off the field during the first innings break. Murtagh took five wickets from just nine overs, placing his name on the Honors’ Board.
His first victim was debutant Jason Roy who played the swinging ball too early, edging it to Paul Stirling in slip. The second opener Rory Burns fell in a similar fashion, being caught behind, just like Moeen Ali later. Wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow was bowled on duck and Chris Woakes was caught LBW for not as well.
But Murtagh wasn’t done for the day as he played a cameo with the bat as well. Scoring 16(10), Murtagh was responsible for hitting Stuart Broad for three boundaries within one over! Surely at this point, Murtagh has secured the Man of the Match award.
Loser: Jason Roy
After a splendid World Cup performance, Roy was poised to be the solution to England’s opening options, but it seems no one can replace Sir Alastair Cook. Roy turned out to be quite the opposite, playing Ireland’s swinging deliveries to early rather than waiting and the price he paid was departing for just 5(11).
Loser: Joe Root
Body language says a lot and the captain’s body language perhaps speaks the loudest (the only person who defies this rule would be Pakistan’s captain Sarfaraz Ahmed). Throughout the day, it seemed as if Joe Root stopped caring due to frustration. First, Root was caught LBW on 2(7) by Mark Adair then he went on to drop two catches in the slips in Ireland’s innings.
Loser: Jonny Bairstow
Bairstow’s innings was chaotic from the start. In his one over at the crease, he was probably confronted by the umpires as many times as he faced deliveries for impeding on the protected zone of the pitch. On one delivery, Bairstow withdrew from the crease right before the bowler’s release, and that ball ended up clipping off-stump. But Bairstow’s stay was short anyway after he was bowled by Murtagh himself.
Winner: Andrew Balbirnie
Ireland batted well after they bowled spectacular. After a decent opening partnership, Andrew Balbirnie came in and got his second test fifty with 55(69), comprising of 40 runs in fours. Along with Stirling, the two put together an 87-run partnership from just 89 deliveries, giving Ireland the lead.
Winner: Ollie Stone
Yes, there actually was one good performance from the England side. After his four fours took Stone to 19(18), Stone did his job with the ball by picking up three wickets at 9.66 apiece from 12 overs. His first wicket was a masterpiece, removing Balbirnie’s middle stump out of the ground. He then followed up by getting Gary Wilson caught in the slips for duck and closed off with finding the wicket of Murtagh, caught at deep mid-wicket by Burns.