Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 25, 2019

England vs Ireland Day One

Olly Stone gets in amongst the Ireland middle order

Ball One – Roy – a one day king in exile

Jason Roy scored a fortunate 5 displaying many of the faults that make me wary of his place in Test cricket. In the second over of the day, he hit across the line – forcing the issue natch – to be plumb LBW to fellow debutant, Mark Adair. He was saved by a no ball – you could feel Adair’s dismay from 100 yards away. In the next over, Roy’s hands went at the ball while his feet went nowhere and Tim Murtagh induced the edge for a dismissal that is as routine for him at Lord’s as playing for his country is unique. Of course, any opener can be found out early on the first morning of a Test, but the goodwill his World Cup performances engendered will dissipate if Roy fails to work the hard yards before unveiling his array of boundary striking options.

Ball Two – Murtagh on the dancefloor

On a morning that no Irish player, perhaps no Irishman or Irishwoman, will forget, England tasted the thinnest of gruel for lunch, 85 all out. They had – needless to say – not batted well. But the story is Ireland’s bowling, led by Tim Murtagh, who moved the ball both ways from a line and length homing in on the top of off stump at a pace that allowed no easy strike rotating deflections. It was cricket of the highest order from the man playing on his home ground in ideal conditions. The clatter of wickets inspired his team-mates (almost as parsimonious) and scrambled the minds of an England order who know a collapse when they see one.

Ball Three – The best line and length on this pitch is a line and length

Having watched Ireland’s bowlers attack the top of off stump (admittedly at a pace that would send few balls too high), England’s experienced new ball pairing of Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes allowed too many deliveries to be left alone, a cardinal sin on a pitch that was nibbling off a length. Batting remained tricky, but the Irish enjoyed whatever the opposite of scoreboard pressure is, as every run took a decent chunk out of England’s lead. Bowling behind a big first innings is always remarked upon as a huge advantage – bowling after a debacle sends you to the other end of that spectrum.

Ball Four -WTF FTP?

At tea, Ireland have a lead of 42, two set batsmen and opponents who look bereft of ideas and the skills to execute them – all in a sunbathed, well-attended picture-perfect HQ. In two sessions, Ireland have made a case for a rematch, maybe even a mini-series. Needless to say, the ICC Future Tours Programme indicates that, up to end 2022, England are scheduled to play precisely 0 Test matches vs Ireland.

Ball Five – DRS and Data Request Selections

I wonder whether the ranks of data analysts who accompany sides these days look at the height of each delivery as it passes the stumps (or how Hawkeye predicts it will pass the stumps)? There have already been two umpire’s calls on height, both of which looked to be missing to the naked eye. But this is – on Day One – a pitch on which few deliveries are getting much above stump high, so reviewing on line alone is a good option. If captains are getting that conjecture confirmed in the intervals or at drinks breaks with stats like “Hawkeye shows that 90% of length deliveries are stump high or lower”, it would lend a degree of confidence in calling for such reviews.

Ball Six – Testing times for Test cricket? Maybe not.

For all the errors with bat in hand and some poor catching, it proved to be an electrifying day of Test cricket, one from which you could not avert your eyes for fear of missing something. That it took place in glorious sunshine was blind luck, but the very decent house owed something to the MCC’s enlightened pricing policy as well as England’s (televised free-to-air) World Cup Final thriller. Viewed up close and personal, Test cricket – dying since 1877 lest we forget – looked in the rudest of health. Again



  1. Dial M. I may have mentioned this before. Bloody legend.

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