Only Test, Day 1: Ireland 172 (Broad 5-51, Leach 3-35) England 152-1 (Duckett 60*, Crawley 56)
The opposition may have only been Ireland, rather than Australia, but just three weeks shy of his 37th birthday, Broad looked in the kind of form that has served him so well in previous Ashes battles.
Leading the attack in the absence of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, both rested ahead of that opening Test against Australia at Edgbaston in a fortnight’s time, he claimed his first five-wicket haul for 17 months. The last time Broad managed the feat was in Sydney in January 2022 in the series he has since “voided” much to the chagrin of Australians.
It says much that even in a series England were utterly dreadful in, Broad managed to manufacture another magic moment in his personal Ashes highlights reel.
Indeed, by the time this Test against Ireland is over, England will surely have 11 wins from their past 13 Tests.
Given Ireland were routed for 172, thanks in large part to Broad’s 5 for 51, and England’s reply stood at 152 for one from 25 overs by the close, it is a matter of if, not when, they win this opening Test of the summer.
Thoughts will then turn to the Ashes and even though it looks like Anderson, Robinson and Mark Wood are England’s preferred seamers for that opening Test in Birmingham, it would be foolish to rule Broad out completely on the back of this performance.
And whenever he does play – and he must be earmarked for at least two Tests – Australia will have reason to be worried given Broad has managed at least one five-wicket haul against them in every one of the four previous home Ashes series he has played in.
Most, including those magical spells at The Oval in 2009 and Trent Bridge in 2015, have been series-defining.
Key moments on day one
Stirling job on the review: Ireland would have been 19 for 4 had Paul Stirling not reviewed the first-ball lbw call given against him when Stuart Broad struck him on the pads in the seventh over. Instead, Hawkeye showed the ball just missing leg stump.
Jonny’s catch of the day: Ben Stokes raised eyebrows when he brought on Jack Leach so early but the spinner broke through before lunch, Jonny Bairstow catching Stirling’s errant sweep for his first Test dismissal as a wicketkeeper since September 2021.
Potts picks up a wicket: Matt Potts, in his first Test since August, had bowled brilliantly without reward until he struck late in the afternoon session, finding movement off the seam to locate Andy McBrine’s edge as Ireland slipped to 142 for 7.
Five-star Stuart: Broad grabbed his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests when he bowled Mark Adair in the final session. The shock was it took him so long after he threatened to run riot in the first hour.
Zak Cracks: Reaching 56 in 44 balls, Crawley would have fancied becoming the latest Bazballer to have a crack at Gilbert Jessop’s 76-ball record for the fastest England Test century. Instead, he was the victim of a brilliant return catch by Fionn Hand.
And as he blitzed through Ireland’s batting line-up during a burst of three wickets in eight balls on the first morning of this one-off Test, nobody inside Lord’s would have betted against Broad summoning up one last Ashes hurrah.
Matthew Potts and Josh Tongue also bowled well to push their cases for back-up roles during the Ashes. Tongue is still awaiting his maiden Test wicket on debut but he bowled with pace and hostility, hitting 91 miles per hour with one delivery, and making life incredibly uncomfortable for Ireland’s batters.
Yet England’s second-best bowler on the day was spinner Jack Leach, thrown the ball by Stokes as early as the 12th over and who picked up three wickets to start the summer with a welcome confidence boost. It was smart man-management from Stokes, who knows the Australians will target Leach and try to knock him out of the attack from ball one in the Ashes – just as they did in 2021-22.
Giving him the opportunity to pick up wickets will only help him for the significant challenge that awaits him this summer.
There was also a reminder of how destructive England are with the bat under Bazball, the hosts already having raced to 109 before Zak Crawley became their first wicket to fall.
Crawley had reached his 8th Test fifty – and first since the first Test of the winter in Rawalpindi in December – in just 39 balls. But he had led a charmed life, almost playing onto his own stumps three times in two overs just before he reached his fifty.
At the other end, Ben Duckett was in good touch, reaching stumps on 60 and eyeing up a second Test century, as England closed to within 20 runs of Ireland’s first-innings total.
Player of the day: Stuart Broad
This was the perfect workout ahead of the Ashes, Broad taking his first five-wicket haul at Lord’s in a decade. The last was his 7 for 44 against New Zealand in May 2013.
Quote of the day
“Stuart Broad bowled beautifully. He hit that full length from the start, challenging the outside edge. We knew he would stand up in James Anderson’s absence but he led the attack brilliantly.”
- Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook on BBC Test Match Special
Two men who will definitely take on the Aussies, Broad and Leach, were the pick of the bowlers as England captain Stokes continued to funk things up in the field. And Bazball was back with a bang with the bat as England raced along at more than six an over in reply.