Murtagh rocks World Champs

Murtagh rocks World Champs

Ireland make a sensational start in their first-ever Test against England

Ireland's Tim Murtagh walks off the field after taking 5 wickets and leaving England to bowl on the first day of the first cricket Test match between England and Ireland at Lord's cricket ground in London. (AFP Photo)

 Ireland were dismissed for 207 in reply to England’s woeful 85, a first-innings lead of 122 runs, on the opening day of a one-off Test at Lord’s here on Wednesday.

Andrew Balbirnie top-scored with 55 -- the only fifty on either side so far in the match -- with pacemen Sam Curran, Olly Stone and Stuart Broad taking three wickets apiece.

Ireland, playing their first Test against England, established a strong position when veteran seamer Tim Murtagh took a stunning five wickets for 13 as the hosts were bowled out before lunch. The Irish batted for more than four-and-a-half hours, with England bowled out in just over two after home captain Joe Root won the toss.

There was time for just one more over in the day’s play when Ireland were dismissed and England sent out nightwatchman Jack Leach, who managed to play out a maiden from Murtagh as Root’s men reached stumps on 0-0 in their second innings.

Earlier, Ireland ended England’s World Cup honeymoon in dramatic style as they eyed one of the biggest shocks in Test history.

Tim Murtagh took five wickets on a ground where he plays for Middlesex.

Ten days after winning the World Cup at the same ground against New Zealand and a week ahead of the Ashes, Ireland exposed England’s batting fragility in brutal fashion.

Just three England batsmen made it into double figures -- Joe Denly, who top-scored with 23, Olly Stone and Sam Curran -- in an innings that was over inside 24 overs on a baking day in London.

But of those only Denly is a top-order player, with fast bowler Stone making his debut in the first-ever Test between England and Ireland.

It was the fourth time in 34 Tests that England had lost all 10 wickets in a session -- a worrying sign ahead of the five-Test series against Australia.

Much of the pre-match talk had contained warnings about Murtagh’s ability but a return of five wickets for 13 runs in nine overs was the stuff of schoolboy fiction. The 37-year-old seamer, who recently took his 800th first-class wicket, gave a classic demonstration of his skill on an emerald green pitch prepared by Irish groundsman Karl McDermott.

“I’m not quite sure what’s happened in the last two hours,” an elated Murtagh told Sky Sports during the lunch interval. “It’s a dream just to play here in the first place. But to get on the honours board.... It’s a fantastic first session for us,” added Murtagh, a Middlesex player for more than a decade.

England’s collapse followed their 77 all out against the West Indies in Barbados in January.

Test debutant Jason Roy, fresh from his World Cup heroics, fell for five when the Murtagh, short of express pace but remorselessly attacking the top of off stump, squared him up, with Stirling holding the ensuing edge low down at first slip.

Debutant Mark Adair (3/32) had his first Test wicket when Denly was leg before wicket and he also captured the prize wicket of Root, plumb lbw for two. When Jonny Bairstow was bowled for a duck -- one of three noughts in the England innings -- off an inside edge by Murtagh as he attempted a booming drive, England were 42-5.

And when Murtagh had Moeen Ali caught behind for a duck, the seamer had a place on the honours board for all those who take five wickets in a Test innings at Lord’s.

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