On his debut, Josh Tongue takes five wickets to help Englan

on his de
England defeated Ireland by 10 wickets

It only took four balls—four balls and more than two sessions—as Ireland’s batters put on a tough performance to push their Test against England into a third evening when getting it to tea had seemed like a solid goal.

Zak Crawley scored three fours off the first four balls of the innings to surpass the 11-run goal, while Josh Tongue’s five-wicket haul on his Test debut put his name on the Lord’s honours board and the hosts on the verge of victory.

The fact that England was forced to bat again was down to a 163-run partnership between Mark Adair and Andy McBrine after Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker had laid the foundation with a fifty-run stand that signaled an improved Ireland batting performance compared to the first innings. Humor predictions abound about how long England’s golf-loving players would need to wait before booking their tee times.

After Adair was dismissed, McBrine continued to bat but was left stranded on 86 when Graham Hume was caught by Stuart Broad with the eighth ball after tea to end Ireland’s second innings with a 10-run advantage.

In the morning session, England took three wickets, including one that Tongue took, leaving him one wicket short of the five-for to finish off a strong week for the Worcestershire seamer. He was added to the team for this game when Ollie Robinson and James Anderson recovered from injuries, and he kept his spot next to them in the 16-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests, which was announced just before lunch.

He didn’t secure a spot on the joint honours board until well before the planned tea break and with a ball that was 79 overs old, when Tongue got fellow debutant Fionn Hand out by edging a length ball just outside off stump to Crawley at slip.

After 81 overs, England received the second new ball and immediately gave it to Tongue, but McBrine and Hume resisted and continued to bat unabated to take Ireland’s lead of four runs and went to tea on 85 and 9 respectively.

Ireland finished the morning session at 162 for 7, but opener James McCollum was unable to continue because of a badly twisted ankle he suffered while batting on Friday evening. McCollum was forced to watch from the sidelines wearing a lunar boot despite scans revealing no fracture but probable ligament damage.

In the first half of play on Saturday, Tector and Tucker, who had batted well the night before, added 29 runs to Ireland’s overnight total of 97 for 3. To finish a comfortable 44-run innings and a 63-run fifth-wicket stand, Jack Leach entered the fray and struck on the second ball as Tucker tried to sweep but only managed to draw the ball back onto the stumps with his glove.

When Joe Root came in, Curtis Campher had his sixth delivery muscled for six. Then Tongue, who had earlier that day claimed all three of Ireland’s second-inning wickets, got back into the game and went for back-to-back fours by Campher, the first of which was a perfectly executed cover drive and the second of which was a complete blunder through mid-on.

Tector reached a well-earned half-century by driving past mid-off and running two, but Tongue dismissed him with his next delivery, a short, wide delivery that Tector pushed directly to backward point, where Harry Brook briefly juggled before holding on.

The ball soared through to Ben Stokes at short fine leg in the following over after Root asked Campher to sweep. This dismissal was notable for Stokes’ wince as he held his bothersome left knee and walked after taking the catch.

As lunchtime drew near, Adair took 15 off one Root over, including a six over deep midwicket to push Ireland over 200 and a commanding stroke through backward square leg for four. 

Adair had only made one run to the off side when he got his fifty by diverting a short ball from Broad over the keeper’s head for four. Before threading a third boundary in a row behind gully, he carefully tucked the subsequent boundary to the rope through fine leg.

 McBrine completed his fifty with a reverse sweep off Leach for four, and the pair needed just 155 more deliveries to reach their 150-run partnership. Adair was removed by Matthew Potts after being caught behind for 88 runs off just 76 balls after attempting an upper cut but only managing a light touch. 

Given the hosts’ continued dominance, Potts’ relief was palpable as he collapsed into Stokes’ arms to celebrate, perhaps less so because England had broken Ireland’s record Test partnership than because, after toiling through 17 overs of their second innings, he had finally added to his two wickets from Ireland’s first innings.

Although he claimed after the game that he felt great, Stokes still seems to be in a race against time to fulfil his desire to play as an allrounder against Australia. Tongue, who had gone wicketless in Ireland’s first innings when Broad had a five-wicket haul, went in to capture his fifth wicket in any case.

The audience screamed in applause when Hume smashed two consecutive fours against Root, giving Ireland a one-run lead. Even after Broad took the final wicket, it was impossible to deny that the audience had been treated to a day that was considerably fuller than expected and had seen batting that Ireland would have preferred to have displayed on the first day.