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 nightwatchman 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.
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.
The man whose throw helped England secure the World Cup had racked up 84 ODIs before earning this shot – one he would sooner forget. Roy lasted 11 balls, made five runs and could have been out three times.
By the time he nicked Murtagh to first slip he had already come close to playing on while attempting a leave and survived a plumb lbw that was simultaneously a no-ball. Australia’s bowlers will be certain to study the footage with interest.
A second-wicket stand of 28 between Joe Denly and Rory Burns would prove to be England’s best of the innings but Ireland’s relentless willingness to target the stumps kept both men guessing.
Denly made 23 before Adair had him lbw but Burns edged Murtagh having taken almost an hour over his six runs.
A score of 36 for three is not alien to a team familiar with dodgy starts but it quickly became clear a debacle was in the offing, with Root, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes all departing while the total stalled at 42.
Root was lbw for two to Adair following a canny review before Bairstow had his stumps rearranged for nought having aimed an ill-advised mow at Murtagh. Woakes’ lbw and Moeen Ali’s nick made it three ducks in a row and made Murtagh the first Irishman to take a Test five-for.
Curran (18) and Stone (19) topped up a derisory total with late runs but two wickets for Rankin – doubling his England haul – and another for Adair wrapped it up before lunch.
By the time the next interval rolled around Ireland were sitting on a 42-run lead at 127 for two. Captain Will Porterfield and James McCollum put on 32, tested too infrequently by Broad and Woakes, who failed to heed Murtagh’s lessons.
Curran was somewhat fortunate to claim both, but a mishit long-hop and a drag-on were still vital breakthroughs. Andrew Balbirnie (55) and Paul Stirling (36) changed the tempo, adding 87 in 89 balls as England began to wilt.
Balbirnie survived two edges off Broad – one left by Bairstow, one grassed by Root – but went on to rack up 10 boundaries and the game’s first half-century.
England rallied to the tune of eight wickets for 75 runs, Broad and Stone taking three apiece as they stuck to their task – the latter opening his Test account by toppling Balbirnie’s middle stump.
Kevin O’Brien, whose century in Bangalore inspired Ireland to a famous World Cup win over Andrew Strauss’ England eight years ago, made an unbeaten 28 with Murtagh’s fun continuing as he swatted four boundaries.
Moeen’s late dismissal of Rankin left one over to bat before the close, Leach sparing Roy and Burns by negating six teasers from Murtagh.