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Ireland's pursuit of history mercilessly ended by England's fast bowlers

Chasing 182 for victory at Lord’s, Ireland collapsed to suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of England.

Updated Jul 26th 2019, 2:02 PM

IRELAND DARED TO dream, their performance hitherto engendering a bold belief within the dressing room and in the stands, but England’s fast-bowlers ensured the visitors were brought crashing back to earth at Lord’s.

In pursuit of 182 and a historic Test victory at the Home of Cricket, Ireland were powerless to prevent an almighty batting collapse in the face of a devastating spell from Chris Woakes and Stuart Board, the former taking six wickets. 

England v Ireland - Specsavers Test Series - Day Three - Lord's Ireland's dream was crushed. Source: Bradley Collyer

It was a showing completely at odds with the fight and skill Ireland had displayed to put themselves in this position, as they narrowly avoided the lowest score in Test history [26] before being bowled out for just 38 inside 16 overs.

Once captain William Porterfield was brilliantly caught by Jonny Bairstow off Woakes, Ireland’s top and middle order were blown away as England’s bowlers used conditions to swing the ball both ways, and they eventually slumped to the lowest Test score at Lord’s.

Three batsmen — Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson and Andy McBrine — fell for ducks, and only opener James McCollum [11] reached double figures during a nightmare 90-minute session on Friday morning. 

England, who were given a big scare here before ultimately showing the gulf in class between the sides, head into their Ashes series against Australia off the back of a 143-run victory.

“We knew it was going to be tough with the lights on and drizzle in the air,” Porterfield said.

“But we had to dig deep and get through that. Fair play to the two lads to how they bowled — they made it difficult.

“If we had managed to get 50 or 70 more in the first innings, that turns it into a different chase today.”

Woakes continued his superb record on the ground with 6-17 as Ireland were bundled out for a paltry 38 — the seventh-lowest completed innings score in Test history – and England won by 143 runs, despite collapsing to 85 all out themselves on the first morning.

Broad chipped in with 4-19 before Woakes uprooted Tim Murtagh’s leg stump to wrap up a torturous 15.4 overs for Ireland on a day that had promised so much for the Test rookies.

Murtagh’s mastery of helpful bowling conditions on day one put a first victory in the longest format at the third time of asking on the cards for Porterfield’s side, and that remained the case when Stuart Thompson (3-44) bowled Olly Stone with the first ball of day three.

Stuart Thompson looks dejected It was a tough day for Ireland. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

It meant England were 303 all out and the ultimately unchallenged victory target was 182.

The opening stand of 11 between Porterfield and McCollum was Ireland’s biggest, with a sharp catch behind from Bairstow off Woakes dismissing the captain to start the procession.

Porterfield’s opposite number Joe Root claimed four slip catches, helping Broad see off first-innings half-centurion Andy Balbirnie and Woakes to dismiss McCollum.

McCollum’s wicket was the first of three to go with the score on 24, as Broad pinned Kevin O’Brien plumb in front and Woakes successfully reviewed an lbw appeal against Wilson, who fell for successive ducks. 

By that time the dangerous Stirling had departed bowled without scoring — his decision to aim a booming drive at Woakes a particularly foolhardy stroke in a match packed with them.

The tail offered scant resistance, with Woakes and Broad’s brilliance bailing out their under-par batting colleagues and allowing England to head into their latest duel against Australia with blushes spared.

Test match, day three: 

  • England first innings 85 (T Murtagh 5-13, M Adair 3-32)
  • Ireland first Innings 207 (A Balbirnie 55; S Curran 3-28, O Stone 3-29, S Broad 3-60)
  • England second innings 303 (J Leach 92, J Roy 72; M Adair 3-66)
  • Ireland 38 (C Woakes 6-17, S Broad 4-19).

England win by 143 runs. Full scorecard here.

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Ryan Bailey

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