London (AP) — Ten days after celebrating a dramatic World Cup final win, England was humbled at the home of cricket in a test match against lowly-ranked Ireland.
England was bundled out for 85 in 23.4 overs on the first morning of the four-day test at Lord’s — the first such encounter between the inventors of the game and one of the latest teams to join the sport’s elite.
Five prominent players from the World Cup-winning squad were bowled out for what Britain’s Press Association described as “wince-inducing” scores on Wednesday as Irish fast bowlers Tim Murtagh, who took five wickets for 13 runs, and Mark Adair, who took 3-32, dominated.
Big-hitting opener Jason Roy was out for five in the third over of his debut in the test format. Captain Joe Root was trapped lbw for two, while Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were all dismissed without scoring in a period when England lost four wickets for one run to slump to 43-7.
Ireland replied with 207, with Andy Balbirnie scoring 55 and Paul Stirling making 36, to take a 122-run lead before being bowled out just before stumps.
England’s coaching staff admitted the primary focus at the start of the summer had been on winning a first World Cup title on home soil.
The England World Cup squad, led by Irishman Eoin Morgan, edged New Zealand on a countback for the biggest prize in limited-overs cricket after the final and a so-called Super Over both ended in ties at Lord’s on July 14.
“You’d probably say there aren’t too many sports where you win a World Cup and are playing again a week later,” England batting coach Graham Thorpe said. “It’s a challenging mental examination I suppose, coming back off the World Cup.
“There is no harm admitting where, potentially, some of our players are — have to accept that some players are maybe in a different headspace to others.”
Having said that, Thorpe added “There are no real excuses for us being bowled out for 85 against Ireland.”
“But congratulations to them, they put us under pressure and didn’t let us off,” Thorpe said. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t respond.”
Murtagh registered the best bowling figures for Ireland in a test match, although the country is only playing for the third time at the test level. England, meanwhile, has played 1,010 test matches since 1877.
“It’s as special as it gets for a cricketer,” Murtagh said of having his bowling figures added to the honor board at Lord’s. “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.”
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said it was a fitting opening day after a long struggle to gain test status.
“What an amazing day — firstly for those 11 players that went out on the field, and secondly for the many, many fans of Irish cricket around the world, particularly the thousands that came to Lord’s and gave the atmosphere that distinctly bubbly, Irish flavor,” he was quoted as saying by PA. “We also recognize that this is just day one of a test match against England with a lot of time still to play. However, what a day’s play like this does show is that Ireland belongs here on the world stage.”