Woeful England destroyed by Ireland's Murtagh
Published : Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 at 10:32 PM Count : 290
Ireland ended England's World Cup honeymoon in dramatic style on Wednesday, bowling out the host nation for a derisory 85 on the first day at Lord's as they eyed one of the biggest shocks in Test history.
Tim Murtagh took five wickets on a ground where he plays for Middlesex and at tea Ireland's batsmen were cruising at 127 for two in replay -- a first-innings lead of 42 runs, reports AFP.
Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling, also both Middlesex players, were 51 and 35 not out in a match only scheduled to last four days rather than the usual five for a Test.
Ten days after winning won the World Cup at the same ground against New Zealand and a week ahead of the Ashes, Ireland exposed England's batting fragility in brutal fashion.
Just three England batsmen made it into double figures -- Joe Denly, who top-scored with 23, Olly Stone and Sam Curran -- in an innings that was over inside 24 overs on a baking day in London.
But of those only Denly is a top-order player, with fast bowler Stone making his debut in the first-ever Test between England and Ireland.
It was the fourth time in 34 Tests that England had lost all 10 wickets in a session -- a worrying sign ahead of the five-Test series against Australia.
Much of the pre-match talk had contained warnings about Murtagh's ability but a return of five wickets for 13 runs in nine overs was the stuff of schoolboy fiction.
The 37-year-old seamer, who recently took his 800th first-class wicket, gave a classic demonstration of his skill after England captain Joe Root won the toss and batted on an emerald green pitch prepared by Irish groundsman Karl McDermott.
- 'Fantastic session' -
"I'm not quite sure what's happened in the last two hours," an elated Murtagh told Sky Sports during the lunch interval.
"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 should know how to bowl on this ground -- I've been here long enough," added Murtagh, a Middlesex player for more than a decade.
England's collapse followed their 77 all out against the West Indies in Barbados in January.
The home side were soon in deep trouble despite Root's insistence they did not want to "sleepwalk" into this match, with bigger challenges ahead.
Test debutant Jason Roy, fresh from his World Cup heroics, fell for five when the Murtagh, short of express pace but remorselessly attacking the top of off stump, squared him up, with Stirling holding the ensuing edge low down at first slip.
Debutant Mark Adair (3-32) had his first Test wicket when Denly was leg before wicket and he also captured the prize wicket of Root, plumb lbw for two.
When Jonny Bairstow was bowled for a duck -- one of three noughts in the England innings -- off an inside edge by Murtagh as he attempted a booming drive, England were 42-5.
And when Murtagh had Moeen Ali caught behind for a duck, the seamer had a place on the honours board for all those who take five wickets in a Test innings at Lord's.
Stone stylishly drove three fours in four balls of Stuart Thompson before he was bowled by Adair to end a stunning morning's play.
Ireland openers William Porterfield and James McCollum made a steady start before skipper Porterfield, hit on the head by a Stone bouncer, pulled Curran to midwicket on 14.
Curran also bowled McCullum but Balbirnie had a reprieve when, on 10, he edged Stuart Broad between Bairstow and first slip Root for a chance that belonged to the wicketkeeper.
Stirling had made 17 when Root, compounding a miserable day for the captain, dropped a low slip catch off the unlucky Broad.
Balbirnie, driving impressively, rubbed salt into England's wounds with a 56-ball fifty that included nine fours.