Fast debutant bowler Josh Tong marked his call to the Ashes with a five-wicket trophy as England beat Ireland by 10 wickets in three days at Lord’s, but only after a record 163-match partnership between Thais Mark Adair and Andy McBrien. England were well placed to win the innings when Ireland needed another 255 runs early in the day for Ben Stokes’ men to bat again. But Ireland, limited by the absence of injured rookie James McCollum, held back England, while Harry Tector (51) and Lorcan Tucker helped add 118 runs in the morning session, dropping just three wickets.
Ireland had yet to win any of their seven Tests and then rioted during Ireland’s record-breaking showdown between the seven-wicket duo of McBrine (86 not out) and Adair (88).
Fast bowler Adair, whose previous highest Test score was 32 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in April, went up to fifty-four from Stuart Broad.
McBrien’s lefty fifty included 10 boundaries, with Broad and Leach bearing the brunt of the offense.
But number nine Adair was eventually eliminated by Matthew Potts for 76 balls of 88, including 12 fours and two sixes.
Ireland effectively lost nine wickets when Fionn Hand became Tong’s fifth casualty and his exit meant that England were able to extend the afternoon session by 30 minutes to secure a victory before tea.
England were denied an innings win, however, when shank Graeme Hume hit two fours after consecutive deliveries from part-time of-spinner Joe Root – the shots were met with huge applause from the sun-drenched crowd.
Since McBrien 85 did not come out for tea, the question was whether Hume could help his partner get a hundred and a coveted spot on the Lord’s honors board.
But McBrien was left in a quandary when Hume lost to Broad, leading the attack in the absence of a rested James Anderson and Ollie Robinson.
Zach Crowley then quickly hit the winning goal of 11 with three fours in four balls from Adair.
“I thought Ireland came out and showed grit and determination,” England captain Stokes said at the launch ceremony.
“As it went on, it (the field) became more and more flat. Trying to play the game our way allowed us to potentially knock them out of the game without batting again.”
Republic of Ireland captain Andrew Balbirni praised the team with minimal first-class experience for the resilience they showed on Saturday.
“The character is undeniable, we have a difficult group,” he said. “Test cricket is very raw for us, yesterday was a tough day, but coming back and getting England to bat again was a small win.”
He added: “We learn on the job and we need to learn fast. Hopefully next time we will show the benefits.”
The win meant England now won 11 of 13 Tests under Stokes, who didn’t bat or bat in that match, and manager Brandon McCallum.
Stokes, struggling with a longstanding knee injury, did not hit or play against Ireland.
England want to protect the all-rounder’s fitness ahead of the Ashes’ first match in Edgbaston on 16 June and at the same time take advantage of his leadership qualities.
But there was an unsettling moment when he appeared to hurt his leg while catching Curtis Kumfer on Saturday.
“I just landed awkwardly on him,” Stokes told the BBC.
He added: “I still wouldn’t have played this match if everyone else hadn’t lost.
“I’m happy with that so I’ll just keep building it up now in front of Edgbaston. I’m definitely on my way to bowling in the first test.”
England’s victory was based on an impressive 524-4 first innings total, posted with Man of the Match Ollie Pope 205 and Ben Duckett 182.
“Hitting the ball at three o’clock is an important part of the team, but I feel good in my game and nothing needs to be changed because this is the Ashes series,” said Pope, man of the match.
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