Ireland at the crease after bowling England out for 85 on day one – live!


Ireland at the crease after bowling England out for 85 on day one – live!

28th over: Ireland 107-2 (Balbirnie 35, Stirling 31) Moeen Ali comes into the attack and is milked for seven easy runs. The ball is doing very little, and Ireland have a great chance to bat England out of the match, already.

If they get a lead of 250 – and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t – I think they’ll add Lord’s 2019 to Stuttgart 1988, Bangalore 2011 and various rugby wins I know nothing about.

27th over: Ireland 100-2 (Balbirnie 32, Stirling 27) Ireland were 28/1 to win this morning. They’re now 7/4, which is still pretty generous. Bairstow screams for LBW when Stirling works Leach round the corner for a single; I think he thought the ball hit Stirling on the toe. I hope that’s what he thought, because otherwise the World Cup win really has impacted upon his noggin. Balbirnie laps the next ball for four and then takes a single to bring up an initiative-seizing fifty partnership from only 47 balls. Leach’s first three overs have gone for 26.

“Notwithstanding Ireland’s almost flawless Test match cricket, Root and Bairstow have played like two tired and jaded men – like the Indians (ex Rahul Dravid) did after their World Cup win in 2011,” says Gary Naylor. “To state the bleedin’ obvious, this is not a good sign.”


An Ireland fan celebrates runs by waving his shoe.Root drop Sterling.
26th over: Ireland 89-2 (Balbirnie 23, Stirling 25) Broad is square-driven confidently for four by Balbirnie, a boundary that takes Ireland into the lead. Haha, this is wonderful stuff.

On the subject of bowling faces, have we had Daffy DeFreitas? I always thought he looked like he was in the middle of a peculiarly painful orgasm.

25th over: Ireland 85-2 (Balbirnie 19, Stirling 25) It’s been a day when the home players have excelled – the Middlesex players, not the England ones. Stirling continues his calculated attack by dragging Leach wide of mid-on for four. He has raced to 25 from 26 balls.

24th over: Ireland 79-2 (Balbirnie 19, Stirling 18) Stirling is dropped by Root at first slip! It was a relatively straightforward low chance off the bowling of Broad, but Root crouched almost absent-mindedly and the ball went through his hands. Root’s head is certainly at Lord’s – but I suspect it’s there on 14 July 2019, not 24 July. Balbirnie ends another frustrating over for Broad by lacing a fine extra cover drive for four.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “I think England’s best strategy now might be containment. Keep Ireland down to 600 for 3 when they declared at tea on Friday. Then send Stone and Leach out to dead bat the last four sessions to save the game.”

A session and a half, it took.

Broad, can’t believe it.akhtar

23rd over: Ireland 72-2 (Balbirnie 14, Stirling 17) Cheers Daniel, hello everyone. Jack Leach comes into the attack, replacing Sam Curran, and his first three balls are lap-swept for a total of eight runs by Stirling. All three shots were premeditated, with the second going to the boundary. Joe Root responds by moving short leg to leg slip, and Stirling puts the shot away for the time being.

22nd over: Ireland 63-2 (Balbirnie 14, Stirling 8) This match should be a goodun for young Stuart, grooving himself and such, but also working up requisite temper for the Australians. He’ll be brushing teeth with a blowtorch by this time next week, because have a look! Broad finds Balbirnie’s outside edge and Root dives left while Bairstow stands pondering the meaning of life! The ball rushes away for four, and that’s drinks; Rob Smyth will take you through to the close. You can email him on rob.smyth@theguardian.com, or tweet @UffMarone.

21st over: Ireland 59-2 (Balbirnie 10, Stirling 8) Balburnie has been in great nick of late, and his drives Curran’s first ball for four then, after a single and a dot, England try for a new ball; it passes through the ring so Broad suggests another go. Two dots follow, then Stirling absolutely humps a straight one through midwicket for four; is it time for Jack Leach?


Of course, the other thing we got from Shoaib was some of the greatest appealing the world has ever seen.

20th over: Ireland 50-2 (Balbirnie 5, Stirling 4) Stirling semi-skips down to Broad and edges him for four in the region of third man; Broad shakes him warmly by the hand before collapsing with the hilarity of it all, then creases again when his final ball is edged short of Roy at two … well short.

Porterfield walks for 14 as Curran celebrates with his captain.McCollum in action.


19th over: Ireland 46-2 (Balbirnie 5, Stirling 0) This angle is working well for Curran and he cracks Stirling on the pad, but the angle looked to be taking it down and though there’s an appeal, they run a leg bye.

WICKET! McCollum b Curran 19 (Ireland 45-2)
In the absence of swing, Curran goes around and the angle tempts McCollum to drive; he edges and drags on! This boy is not normal!

19th over: Ireland 45-1 (McCollum 19, Balbirnie 5)

“Aside from Curran, what are your top five bowling faces?” asks Mark Hooper. I always like Abdul Qadir’s tongue, and that he used to change it depending on the ball. Shoaib Akhtar is another, but that’s one on which to think; send in your favourites.

18th over: Ireland 45-1 (McCollum 19, Balbirnie 5) Broad returns, and from the Nursery End – his usual residence because Anderson takes the Pavilion. In commentary, Holding says that he’d have Archer with those two, and says he’d not be worried about the bowling … before citing James Vince as someone he thinks has some talent! Surely that cover drive has flailed. Maiden from Broad, and not a bad one.

17th over: Ireland 45-1 (McCollum 19, Balbirnie 5) Balburnie knocks one to leg, then McCollum drives two down the ground before flicking four to fine leg. Curran is struggling to make an impression – it’s time for another half-tracker, I’d say.

“In years gone by when Australia have been prone to collapse, England have had a solid top order – guys like Cook, Strauss and Trott,” says Digvijay Yadav. “One cannot say that now though. Which means England winning the Ashes is not a foregone conclusion even though they start as favourites. Also Warner, Khawaja, Smith and whoever are a better top order than anything England can muster at the moment. Intriguing month or so ahead.”

I’ve not a clue what’s going to happen in that series; starting in Birmingham is huge for England, and miserable though they’ve been today, putt Stokes, Anderson in Buttler into the mix and it might be different. Last time round, I thought Australia’s bowlers would make the difference, so really, who knows?


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