England recover, take 181-run lead against Ireland

London: Ireland's Boyd Rankin celebrates fall of Rory Joseph Burns' wicket on day 2 of the only Test between Ireland and England at the Lord's Cricket Stadium in London, England on July 25, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

London,  Nighwatchman Jack Leach scored a career-best 92 while Jason Roy notched up his maiden Test half century as England recovered from a poor start to erase a 122-run deficit and take a 181-run lead with one wicket in hand at stumps on a rain-affected day 2 of the only Test against Ireland at Lord’s on Thursday.

Leach, sent in as a nightwatchman the previous evening to negotiate one over of England’s second innings, played brilliantly for his 92 off 162 balls with 16 fours.

Test debutant Roy raced to 72 from 78 balls (10×4, 1×6) as the hosts gained the upper hand but just before tea, Ireland pacers dented England’s charge with quick wickets to leave them at 209/5 at tea.

In the final session which was cut short due to rain, England skipper Joe Root scored 31 from 64 balls (3×4) and Sam Curran added a quickfire 37 off just 29 deliveries (4×4, 2×6) as England finished on 303/9 in 77.4 overs. For Ireland, Mark Adair was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/66.

Leach and Roy shared a 145-run stand for the second wicket as they went into lunch on 122/1. But after resumption, Roy lost his wicket to Stuart Thompson (2/44) while Leach missed out on a maiden and memorable hundred as he nicked first innings’s hero Tim Murtagh 1/52) to Mark Adair at the slip cordon.

Joe Denly could manage only 10 runs and Jonny Bairstow once again got out for a duck like the first innings. At tea, Root (12) and all-rounder Moeen Ali (7) were at the crease.

On the first day, Ireland, led by veteran pacer Murtagh’s maiden five wicket haul in international cricket, stunned the cricketing world with their performance as they ended day 1 with a 122-run lead over England who lifted the 50-over World Cup here earlier this month.

London-born pacer Murtagh, 37, returned spectacular figures of 5/13 in nine overs as Adair (3/32) and Rankin (2/5), who became the first player in over seven decades to play Test cricket for and against England, supported him well. England were bundled out for 85 in 23.4 overs after opting to bat.

Ireland, in reply, were dismissed for 207 as Andrew Balbirnie top-scored with 55 off 69 balls (10×4) — the only fifty on either side so far in the match — with pacers Sam Curran (3/28), Olly Stone (3/29) and Stuart Broad (3/60) taking three wickets apiece.

Brief scores: England 1st innings: 85 all out, 2nd innings: 303/9 (Jack Leach 92, Jason Roy 72); Ireland 207 all out