Millennium Post

Ireland take 42-run lead vs England at tea on Day I

London: Andy Balbirnie scored an unbeaten half century as Ireland took a 42-run lead against England after bowling them out for a paltry 85, at tea on Day 1 of the only Test here at Lord's, where a little more than a week ago, the hosts lifted the 50-over World Cup.

Balbirnie was batting on 51 off 61 balls (9x4) with Paul Stirling for company, batting on 35 off 37 balls (4x4) as Ireland were 127/2 in 32 overs. For England, Sam Curran (2/21) removed both openers, skipper William Porterfield (14) and James McCollum (19) before Balbirnie and Stirling joined hands for an unbroken 82-run stand for the third wicket.

Stuart Broad, leading the attack in the absence of injured James Anderson, had two chances go by. First World Cup winning wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow did not dive for a regulation caught behind off Balbirnie when batting on 10 as the edge went for four.

In Broad's next over, England skipper Joe Root dropped Stirling on 17 at first slip. Earlier, led by Tim Murtagh's maiden five-for, Ireland stunned the cricketing world as England was bowled out for less than 100.

London-born pacer Murtagh, 37, returned spectacular figures of 5/13 in nine overs as Mark Adair (3/32) and Boyd Rankin (2/5), who became the first player in over seven decades to play Test cricket for and against England, supported him well. This was Murtagh's 14th first-class five-for at Lord's - but the first to get him on the honours board.

For England, who won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which had carry and seam movement, Joe Denly top-scored with 23 while 25-year-old fast bowler Olly Stone played an entertaining 18-ball 19, his cameo laced with four good-looking boundaries.

England, who got past New Zealand on more number of boundaries hit in the rip-roaring final on July 14 where both the match and the Super Over ended in ties, had five World Cup winners in their ranks. But together, all of them failed collectively as the Irish ran riot at lunch on Day 1 of the four-day affair. Ireland were at it from the word go with Adair having debutant Jason Roy plumb in front in the second over itself, only for the umpire to call it a no ball. Roy, who had a brilliant World Cup, could not make the most of the reprieve, getting caught by Paul Stirling at first slip off Murtagh for 5.

Denly looked good for his 23 off 28 balls (4x4) but Adair trapped him in front with a delivery that shaped back beautifully into his pads on a tight line.

Rory Burns (6) was caught behind by wicketkeeper Gary Wilson off Murtagh and England could never recover from there with skipper Joe Root falling for just 2, lbw Adair.

The five World Cup winners in the England team managed just seven runs among them as Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes all failed to trouble the scorers.

Ali's wicket was Murtagh's fifer as he and his Ireland teammates rejoiced their finest day yet in Test cricket. Curran scored a quickfire 18 before Rankin got his back. In the end, Jack Leach remained not out on 1 as veteran pacer Stuart Broad (3) also failed to make the most of his batting skills.

Brief scores: England 1st innings 85 all out in 23.4 overs; Joe Denly 23, Tim Murtagh 5/13, Mark Adair 3/32) vs Ireland 127/2 in 32 overs (Andy Balbirnie 51, Paul Stirling 35; Sam Curran 2/21).

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