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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ireland lord it over England

Hosts left in shock as Murtagh takes five

Tim Murtagh celebrates dismissing England’s Chris Woakes
Tim Murtagh celebrates dismissing England’s Chris Woakes

England's World Cup honeymoon turned into a hangover at Lord's as an inspired Ireland skittled their neighbours for just 85 in the first session of Test cricket between the sides to forge a 122-run lead on day one.

Just 10 days after the elation of edging New Zealand in a final which has instantly entered sporting folklore, England were back in whites, back at the home of cricket and back to fighting for their lives against a red ball.

They responded to being bundled out in 23.4 overs, their shortest innings on home turf, by bowling out their visitors for 207 on a chaotic 20-wicket day and then saw night-watchman Jack Leach survive a solitary over at the close.

Many had positioned the Specsavers Test, scheduled for four days but highly unlikely to go that far, as a gentle workout sandwiched between the unforgettable tournament triumph and the forthcoming Ashes series.

But by the time the shell-shocked hosts were rolled inside a single session for the fourth time in three years it was clear Ireland had come to compete, not co-operate.

Ireland arrived at St John's Wood with just two games and two defeats in their brief Test history but left having removed any doubts, should they still exist, about their worthiness to sit at the top table.

Tim Murtagh, the Lambeth-born 37-year-old with a dozen years of Middlesex matches under his belt at this famous old ground, was the undeniable star of the day. He used his nagging medium pace to claim five wickets for 13 runs and etch his name on the honours board he has eyed enviously throughout his career.

"Taking five wickets in that first session was as good a feeling as I've had in my career," Murtagh said. "I should know how to bowl here by now, I've played for Middlesex for long enough and I knew if I hit my lengths I'd cause problems. "I told the other guys that if we were disciplined there would be enough in the pitch for us," said Murtagh. "Some of their guys were under pressure for their place with the Ashes starting next week, and I guess it was a good time to play them."

Debutant Mark Adair added three of his own, with two for Boyd Rankin on the day he became just the second man - following the Nawab of Pataudi in 1946 - to play Test cricket for and against England.

Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and another new face, Olly Stone, took three apiece as Ireland's innings ended just before stumps.

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