Ireland post lowest-ever Test score at Lord’s as ruthless England recover to secure Ashes warm-up win

Ireland post lowest-ever Test score at Lord’s as ruthless England recover to secure Ashes warm-up win

26 July 2019 11:08 pm

England's bowlers spared the team's blushes with a terrific performance as they dismissed Ireland for the lowest-ever Test score at Lord’s, to ensure they go into next week’s Ashes series on the back of a win.

World Cup hero Chris Woakes (6-17) and new-ball partner Stuart Broad (4-19) took all 10 wickets between them to skittle Ireland for just 38 runs in fewer than 16 overs, with only one Irish batsman reaching double figures.

Ireland had begun the day with strong hopes of a historic victory at the home of cricket, having dominated much of the affair since bowling England out for 85 inside one session on the first morning.

The hosts, meanwhile, were resuming their second innings on an overnight score of 303/9, with what looked a slender lead of just 181 runs, and staring at the possibility of a humiliating defeat. 

On day two, Ireland had been frustrated by their inability to get rid of nightwatchman Jack Leach, who went on to score 92, but there was no such trouble here as Stuart Thompson clean bowled Olly Stone with the first ball of the day.

The heavens opened after just one over of the Irish chase, and it wasn’t until 12:30pm BST that things could get underway in earnest, with 182 the target for a famous triumph.

With plenty of cloud cover looming overhead, England went in search of the early wickets that would swing the match in their favour ahead of a belated lunch interval.

Broad had been the pick of England’s bowlers on day one, and was on the money from the off again here, tormenting the Irish openers before Woakes struck in his second over as Jonny Bairstow took a superb low diving catch to remove captain William Porterfield.

Andy Balbirnie, who had made an excellent half-century in the first innings, was next to go, edging Broad straight to Joe Root at slip, before Paul Stirling, batting on his home ground, had his stumps rearranged by a magical Woakes delivery, departing for nought.

If Ireland were in trouble then, at 19/3, then they were as good as done when the next three wickets fell in the space of seven balls without a run being scored.

First, Woakes sent the other opener, James McCollum, packing as he too nicked off to Root in the slip cordon, before wicketkeeper Gary Wilson emulated his England counterpart Jonny Bairstow in picking up a pair of ducks as he was trapped in front and given lbw on review.

Kevin O’Brien, so famously England’s conqueror in the World Cup eight years ago, and the only Irishman to have scored a Test century, was the last realistic hope, but Broad soon had him plumb for 4 and Ireland were left stranded on 24/6, still just shy of the lowest Test score of all time of 26.

Mark Adair took them past that particular landmark, pulling Broad for six, but the Nottinghamshire seamer had his revenge next ball, bowling him through the gate.

Woakes continued his devastating spell from the Nursery End, and could hold the ball up to all corners of the ground as he collected his third Lord's Test match five-for as Thompson nicked off.

The ever-reliable Root took his fourth catch of the day at slip to give Broad his fourth scalp as Andy McBrine became the third Irishman to come and go without scoring, to leave England one wicket away.

Broad went in desperate search of a five-for of his own, but it was Woakes who had the honour of claiming the final wicket, bowling hero of day one Tim Murtagh.

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