We’ve shown in our Test career that we have that character – and that bounce-back ability: Andy Balbirine
Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie lauded the team’s “bounce back ability” despite the visitors’ 10-wicket loss to England on the last day of the Lord’s Test while A 163-run seventh wicket partnership between Andy McBrine (86 not out) and Mark Adair (88) – forced England to bat again when an innings loss appeared certain.
Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie lauded the team’s “bounce-back ability” despite the visitors’ 10-wicket loss to England on the last day of the Lord’s Test. A 163-run seventh wicket partnership between Andy McBrine (86 not out) and Mark Adair (88) – Ireland’s highest in seven men’s Tests – forced England to bat again when an innings loss appeared certain.
“The dressing room] was a tough place to be yesterday, in the evening particularly, but we showed character today,”Balbirnie said after the loss.
“We’ve shown in our Test career that we have that character – and that bounce back ability – but unfortunately for us, it’s when our backs are against the wall, that’s almost when we seem to produce our best cricket.”
After starting the day on 97/3 and lacking a batter due to James McCollum’s injury, Ireland was headed to a crushing defeat. The record partnership, though, ensured that they ultimately finished 12 ahead, forcing England to pad up again. Although it may not have been a sufficient target, a small win for the visitors nonetheless.
“We need to find a way to not get so far behind the eight-ball that you need to scrap it out. But get to 12 ahead, it’s a small win to get them batting again. And certainly, after three days like that, you have to take those small wins.”
Ireland entered the one-off Test at a clear disadvantage due to their lack of red-ball cricket experience, but Balbirnie emphasized that the focus now moves to white-ball cricket, particularly the 50-over format, in preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers.
“You’re looking around in the change room, wondering what we can do here to get wickets to stop the run rate. You want to go into a game knowing that, if you play your best cricket, you can be close to beating them. But I’m not stupid. Everyone saw there was a gap and we have to close that as quickly as possible. That’s probably going to come from us playing more red-ball cricket. It’s obvious and hopefully, it happens,”Balbirnie said.
Ireland departs for Zimbabwe later this week and plays two warm-up matches against the USA and the Netherlands on June 13 and 15, respectively, before opening their qualifying campaign against Oman on June 19.
Ireland is placed alongside Scotland, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates. The top three teams in this group will move on to the Super Six round, where two teams will secure spots in the mega event in India later this year.
“I’ve played in these tournaments before. It’s cut-throat. If you don’t turn up for a couple of games, your qualifying tournament is over. So the guys need to be switched on, and I think they will be by the time we get out there.
“It’s 9 am starts, very early-morning stuff, the games are thick and fast, in a sporadic sort of a schedule. I’ve struggled over the years to differentiate between our [Test and white-ball] groups because it’s many of the same names, but for the one-day team, next week is huge. I said at the start of my tenure that qualifying for that World Cup will be my greatest achievement as captain, and we’ve got three weeks to try to do that.”