World Cup winners England were nearly brought crashing back to earth at Lord’s by a spirited Ireland just days after their historic triumph at the iconic cricket stadium in London.
The hosts were bowled out for a mere 85 runs in the first innings of the four-day Test against the Irish but managed to avert a shock upset in the end by staging a strong recovery.
Joe Root’s men ultimately emerged comprehensive victors at Lord’s after the Irish were knocked over for a paltry 38 runs in the second innings.
While England will be relieved to win more than anything after their first-innings horror show, the hosts now need to turn their attention to the main event of the summer – The Ashes series against arch-rivals Australia.
The Test against Ireland was a chance for England to answer some key questions before they take the field against the Aussies at Edgbaston. Here, we look at the three things Root and his men have learned from their Lord’s victory.
PACE ARSENAL BRIMMING
England will be sweating over the fitness of their pace spearhead James Anderson ahead of the first Ashes Test but they will be slightly reassured in that regard after the performance of their bowlers in the Lord’s Test.
Debutant pacer Olly Stone looked extremely good and quick in the first innings where he picked up three wickets while Sam Curran was in sharp form as well. Senior pacer Stuart Broad was exceptional in the second innings but it was Chris Woakes who was the standout with figures of 6-17.
Woakes bowled really well in the World Cup as well with the new ball and he looked even more menacing with the red-ball in hand. With Jofra Archer also waiting in the wings for his England Test debut, the hosts look to be good hands when it comes to the pace department.
ROY SHOWS PROMISE
Jason Roy’s introduction to Test cricket wasn’t exactly the script of fairytales and the World Cup winning opener was made to look pedestrian by Ireland and Tim Murtagh in the first innings.
Roy was caught plumb at the crease early into his debut innings but was saved by a no-ball call. He didn’t make the most of that reprieve and perished soon after for just five runs in his maiden knock.
However, the right-hander did manage to make the amends in the second-innings where he scored a fine 72 off just 78 deliveries to help lead England’s recovery. The counter-attacking turn from Roy in the second innings is the precise reason he has been handed a maiden Test call up by Ed Smith and Roy is now a certainty to feature in the Ashes playing XI.
The explosive opener’s technique might not be tailor-made for Test cricket but England will be hoping that he can have the same impact with his aggression that Jos Buttler has made in the middle-order in recent times.
QUESTION MARKS OVER BURNS REMAIN
While Roy will now most certainly open in the first Ashes Test, who partners him at the top is now a big decision to make for the hosts. After showing some promising signs on the tour of Sri Lanka last year, opener Rory Burns has failed to convince of late and has been shaky throughout 2019.
He was poor in the Test series in the West Indies earlier this year bar one knock of 84 at the Kensington Oval and his poor form has continued in the Ireland clash. The left-hander managed to score just the 12 runs across the two innings at Lord’s and his average with the bat in 2019 is now less than 20.
Another option for England was all-rounder Joe Denly who batted at No3 against Ireland but even he lacked any authoritative presence at the crease during the Test.
England’s opening woes have been ongoing for some time now and they have only been compounded since the retirement of Alastair Cook.
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