Sunday 25 August 2019

England left bowled over as Tim Murtagh lives 'dream' at Lord's

Ireland’s Tim Murtagh bowls England’s Jonny Bairstow during day one of yesterday’s Test at Lord’s. Photo: Getty
Ireland’s Tim Murtagh bowls England’s Jonny Bairstow during day one of yesterday’s Test at Lord’s. Photo: Getty

David Townsend

Tim Murtagh took five wickets in a magical spell of medium-pace bowling yesterday as Ireland dismissed England for only 85 in front of a stunned Test match crowd at Lord's.

The Irish fans at the Home of Cricket were singing - but barely believing what they were seeing - while home supporters were left open-mouthed and shaking their heads as the Boys in Green took a first-innings lead of 122.

Murtagh's nine-over spell in the heat yielded the stunning figures of 5-13, while debutant Mark Adair chipped in with three wickets - including England captain Joe Root - and Boyd Rankin mopped up the other two.

The London-born 37-year-old has spent a career at the coalface but knows Lord's better than anyone having spent the past 12 years teasing wicket-taking deliveries at Middlesex's home ground.

"As a kid growing up I dreamt of being on that honours board, probably not in the away dressing room - but that makes it even more special," he said. "It's as special as it gets for a cricketer. A fantastic feeling walking off, holding the ball up having taken five wickets in a session. It's as good a feeling as I've had in my career.

"I'm a bit long in the tooth but I should know how to bowl here!"

England were dismissed before lunch in only 23.4 overs - their shortest Test innings at home - and things went from bad to worse for the hosts as Andy Balbirnie's half-century gave Ireland a big advantage in the four-day game.

"We could hear the Irish singing in the crowd, it was like a home game," said Murtagh (below). "There was a bit of help in the pitch and when you take wickets you find some extra energy."

In terms of shocks, the Ireland performance is already up there with that incredible night in Bangalore eight years ago when they chased down 327 to beat England in the World Cup. If Murtagh and Co can turn on the heat again today, victory over England in only their third Test would surpass anything the Boys in Green have achieved on their journey to world cricket's top table.

Irish Independent

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