|Only Test, Lord’s (first day of the fourth)|
|Ireland 172: Wide 5-51, Leach 3-35|
|England 152-1: Duquette 60 *, Crowley 56|
|England are 20 points away|
Stuart Broad pressed his case for inclusion in the first Ashes Test by taking five wickets as England dominated Ireland in the first Four Day Test at Lord’s.
Broad took 5-51 and was supported by 3-35 from left spinner Jack Leach in Ireland’s 172.
And that represented something of a recovery from the Irish side, who were at one point 19-3 before James McCollum made 36, Paul Sterling answered for 30 and Curtis Campher added 33.
On a perfect day for England, opener Zak Crawley ended a run of eight Test innings short of a half-century, riding a lucky score to make 56.
Crawley shared 109 for the first wicket with Ben Duckett before he was caught and bowled by Irish debutant Fionn Hand.
Duckett continued his good form by moving to 60 not out, joined by Ollie Pope, who was unbeaten on 29.
England closed to 152-1 from just 25 runs, trailing by just 20 and already well positioned for a quick and ruthless victory.
England are starting a huge summer in perfect fashion
While this is a great set-up for the upcoming big summer, England were aware of their mixed history against the Irish – they were defeated in both editions of the World Cup and were out for 85 the last time they met in a Test.
But the only sign of a whirlwind in the home side came before they arrived at Lord’s, when the team bus was delayed by Just Stop Oil protesters for a short period of time.
And when Ben Stokes won the title on a chilly morning, England’s wide-led attack exposed a chasm in the line and some uncertain Irish movement.
It’s Ireland’s credit that they haven’t completely cooled off – they’ve been knocked out for 38 years and have been on their way to defeat here for the past four.
However, as the cold wind gave way to the warm sun, it became apparent that the pitch did not offer much pace and goal-scoring opportunity.
On a glorious evening, England bowled out by more than six runs at a time, setting up a platform to strike Ireland again sometime on Friday.
Broad makes an ash tray
Broad will be known to compete with Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood for the two spots alongside James Anderson in England’s pace attack for the first Test against Australia at Edgbaston on June 16.
Here he bet on claiming his first five-wicket haul at Lord’s for 10 years and his first at home Test for almost three years.
Bowling a very full length, his opening spell at one stage yielded 3-0 in eight balls. Peter Moore was playing lightweight across the line, Andy Balberni lunged at second slip and Henry Tector converted his second ball into a leg slip. Broad could have got a fourth off his nine ball, but Stirling tipped over after being given lbw.
After lunch Broad came back to get the edge of McCollum to slip first and completed his drag by finding movement up the slope to ride Mark Adair through the gate.
Leach, who had played a vital role in England’s attack as he managed Stokes’ all-rounder, knee injury, capitalized on Ireland’s keenness to be aggressive to claim all three wickets.
Matthew Potts’ move was rewarded with two scalps late on, while debutant Josh Tong touched 90mph, but was frequently called upon to come very short.
Crowley misses an opportunity to silence the doubters
With England deciding to return Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps in place of Ben Foakes, the big lingering doubt about the Ashes line-up is the form of Kent Crawley.
He was unequivocally supported by Stokes and trainer Brendon McCollum, but although the innings were welcome, it was no turn to silence the skeptics.
Crawley’s first half-century since the first Test against Pakistan in December came from just 39 balls, however he was often unconvincing as 15 of his runs came across the inside edge, including two escapes in the same Adder.
He had a chance to come back on Friday for a big score, only to fall back on a medium pace hand, who kept the catch on the second try.
Unlike Crawley, Duckett is right at home at the top of the standings. In this, his first appearance for England in any form on home soil, the left-hander passed 50 for the sixth time in 11 innings since returning to the Test side.
Against an Irish attack lacking pace, Duckett broke through the other side and clipped his toes, with his fluency tackling the new vice-captain Bob.
“England has set a mark” – that’s what they said
England’s bowler Stuart Broad in the BBC Test match special: “It was a great feeling. I was happy with the way we played as a group. The conditions were great this morning and that’s what you want at Lord’s because you have to make the new ball count.
Ireland Curtis Kampfer Multidisciplinary on TMS: “There were moments, but when we reached the top we didn’t prolong those periods. We are disappointed today but we will come back stronger tomorrow.
“It was a big challenge for our batsmen. It was a tough, tough day but we showed grit. Brodie is a first class bowler and it’s about limiting them.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on TMS: “You can see England’s confidence. They want to do things no other team has done and they want to win in two days here.”
Former Irish wicket-keeper on Niall O’Brien on TMS: “I expect it will be a tough evening in the Ireland camp. They will be disappointed, especially the batsmen, because it was a little hard this morning under the clouds but it wasn’t hard to bat.
“England has set a mark for the summer there.”