Only Test, Day 2: Ireland 172 (Broad 5-51, Leach 3-35) and 97-3 (Tongue 3-27) | England 524-4 dec (Pope 205, Duckett 182)
Yet at times the second day of this one-off Test at Lord’s bordered on bullying. England, of course, can only beat what is put in front of them – an outmatched Ireland team who are playing just their seventh Test.
They have long since assured themselves of doing just that, this match long gone as a contest and now just a procession for Ben Stokes’ team to set the seal on an 11th win in 13 matches.
For a brief moment on this second evening – when Ireland were effectively reduced to 25 for 3 in their second innings after a Josh Tongue bouncer forced James McCollum to retire hurt – it looked as though the visitors might collapse to an innings defeat inside two days.
But even though they soldiered on to reach stumps on 97 for 3, still 255 runs shy of forcing England to bat again, they have no hope of gaining anything from this match other than perhaps some lost pride.
England, after hustling out their visitors for 172 on day one, were brutal with the bat, laying down a marker for the Ashes summer ahead by posting 524 for 4 declared in 82.4 overs.
Stokes said before this Test there was no reason his team couldn’t score 500 runs in a day during the Ashes. Well, they effectively did it here taking way less than the allotted 90 overs of a day’s play to manufacture a 352-run lead. The fact Harry Brook faced just seven balls, while Jonny Bairstow and Stokes didn’t even bat at all, tells of England’s dominance.
It perhaps tells of arrogance, too, with that key trio surely needing more than that to ensure they are ready to take on Australia’s bowlers come that first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on Friday week.
The chief orchestrators of Ireland’s pain were Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, two batters who posted their highest Test scores and also achieved the rare feat of both scoring 100 runs in a session.
Pope, by dint of making England’s first double century in more than two years, was the headline act, although Duckett’s 182 – in just 178 balls – saw him become the first England opener since Rory Burns in June 2021 to reach three figures in a home Test.
Key moments on day two
Is this an ODI: England’s brisk scoring rate saw them reach 301 for one after 50 overs – a competitive total for a one-day international. Between 2008 and 2017 the average first-innings score in ODIs was 278. England have beaten that inside 50 overs eight times in 12 Tests.
Ben’s Duckett list: He was bowled on 182 by Graham Hume. Yet Duckett now has the fastest 150 (in 150 balls) at Lord’s – beating Don Bradman’s 166-ball record from 1930 – and is the first player since Jack Hobbs in 1924 to score 100 runs before lunch at the ground.
Joe joins 11,000 club: Joe Root was bowled for 56 by spinner Andy McBrine three balls after tea, but just before the interval he became only the 11th man in history, and just the second Englishman after Sir Alastair Cook, to reach 11,000 Test runs.
Ollie doubles up: Pope brought up the fastest Test double century (207 balls) ever scored in England by smashing McBrine for six shortly after tea. He was stumped next ball, triggering the declaration, as a stylish – and brutal – knock came to an end.
Tongue breaks duck: Tongue was wicketless in Ireland’s first innings but the debutant needed just one delivery in the second to get off the mark – trapping Peter Moor lbw. The fast bowler would later hospitalise McCollum, who injured an ankle evading a bouncer.
Duckett, who resumed his innings on 60, was the first to flay the visiting attack for a century of runs inside a session during a morning that saw England score 173 without loss.
In the process, Duckett scored his second Test century in what was his first innings in a home Test – six-and-a-half years after his debut in Bangladesh.
Pope then dominated the afternoon, reaching 100 in 126 balls shortly after lunch with a single off Curtis Campher.
He was then joined by Root after Duckett’s dismissal, with the former England captain overcoming a slow start to reach a fluent half-century in 55 balls.
Root then went on to become only the 11th man to pass 11,000 Test runs – another nice landmark ahead of facing Australia.
But the highlight of the day came shortly after tea when Pope charged McBrine for six to seal his double century.
Yet what England learned ahead of the Ashes from this glorified net is unclear. Bazball and the way of coach Brendon McCullum and Stokes is as much about feelings and “the vibe” as it is anything else. On that front, England will be full of confidence come Edgbaston.
Yet you can’t help feeling that Australia’s Ashes “warm-up” – next week’s World Test Championship final against India at The Oval – will leave them more battle-hardened than England for the main event of the summer.
The word early on this second day was that England were going for the win inside two days. They had a chance, too, when Pope’s dismissal to McBrine triggered the declaration. Despite Tongue’s maiden Test wicket on debut, the deluge of Irish wickets never came.
It at least extended this Test into a third day, yet this is only prolonging the agony for an Ireland team who have surely taken enough punishment already.
Player of the day: Ollie Pope
After five Tests without a century and a poor tour of New Zealand in February, this was the perfect riposte from England’s No 3 in his first innings since being named vice-captain.
Quote of the day
“It’s a bit of a slaughter in the early summer sunshine. It’s a question about how many [runs] England want. The problem is when there’s such predictability it lacks a little edge.”
- Former England captain Michael Atherton on Sky Sports
Surely the safe limits of exposure to Bazball were exceeded during this flogging of a vapid Ireland attack? Is the meter even still working after England piled up 524 in 82.4 overs with Brook facing just seven balls and neither Bairstow or Stokes getting a bat?