Howzat? England bowled out by Ireland on Boris’s first day as PM

Fans at Lord’s cricket ground treated to rare sight of first-ever Ireland-England Test match

An Ireland fan celebrates as England are bowled out before lunch during day one of the  Test match between England and Ireland at Lord’s Cricket Ground on in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

An Ireland fan celebrates as England are bowled out before lunch during day one of the Test match between England and Ireland at Lord’s Cricket Ground on in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

Boris Johnson was promising no quarter on Brexit a few miles away in Downing Street, but at Lord’s cricket ground in St John’s Wood in North London, it was the Irish cricket team who offered lessons to their English counterparts in the first-ever Test between the sides.

The atmosphere at England v Ireland sporting fixtures is usually defined by intense rivalry. But fans of both countries filtered into the ground together in good spirits, sharing jokes and suncream in the blistering 30-degree heat.

However, the English good humour was challenged by a magnificent Irish bowling display, which left them 85 all-out before lunch. Taken aback by the morning’s developments, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew told BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special: “Ireland lead England by 80 on the first day of a Test match. It has been the most bizarre day.”

In a delicious irony, the Daily Telegraph, which has claimed the occasional Irish Oscar-winning actor as “British”, was left to claim “Lambeth-born Tim Murtagh” after the Irish bowler had taken five wickets for just 13 runs – the second-lowest result ever claimed by a bowler of any country against England.

Raised in England

Unlike the English World Cup-winning captain, Irishman Eoin Morgan, James Murtagh, born in 1981, was raised in England. The left-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium bowler represented England in the 2000 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He played for the Surrey county team from 2000 to 2006, then moved to Middlesex, where he has played since.

Murtagh first played for Ireland in 2012. Six years later, he was one of the eleven cricketers to play in Ireland’s first Test match, against Pakistan. Eighteen months ago, he was named the Men’s International Player of the Year at the annual Cricket Ireland Awards.

I never thought I’d see Ireland play at Lord’s in my lifetime. It’s absolutely fantastic

The Irish mood in the stands brightened and brightened as the day went on. “Now there’s a happy face! My grandmother is 100 this week, she’s a big Cricket fan and we have brought her to Lords to see the first ever Ireland/England Test. And what a start by @Irelandcricket,” tweeted Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on a rare day away from dealing with Brexit.

On the ropes

He was not the only Irish Government Minister in the stands. Minister for Sport Shane Ross, a noted cricket fan of many years’ standing, declared on Twitter that the English were on the ropes.

The Irish in Britain were there, too, including Timothy Hart, whose parents hail from Macroom, Co Cork, who had travelled from Southampton. “Having been brought up in England, I never thought I’d see Ireland play at Lord’s in my lifetime. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Ireland went on to take a 122-run first innings lead at Lord’s.