Day 2 of the first test of the summer and Ireland’s first test against England saw the hosts trailing by 122 having been skittled out for 85 on Day 1.
We were predicted temperatures of 39 degrees and train journeys from my neck of the woods were due to have difficulties due to melting tracks! I chose to forgo Greater Anglia and drove to Stratford with my air conditioning on my face the whole way. It seems the tracks hadn’t melted so the train would’ve been ok, but no regrets on that A/C for the journey home!
My seat for the day was in the Mound Stand, giving me a very different view of the wicket. Rory Burns stance always reminds me of a Lowry man trying to stand up in a strong wind, it’s been very effective in County Cricket, we’re yet to see how it works for him against international bowlers.
I imagine Ireland were hoping to see the back or Leach early, but he looked more accomplished than his partner. And in fact it was Burns who lost his wicket for just 6, he looked out of sorts and edged a Rankin ball to Gary Wilson. England were 26 for 1.
That wicket brought Jason Roy in, at my preferred slot of 3, not that at 26 you’d expect a 3 to come in. Roy, literally, survived the rest of the over. He more than survived a couple of balls from Adair, hitting 2 wonderful shots for Four.
Leach responded in a similar manner to Rankin, hitting consecutive Fours taking his score to 33, the highest for England in the match so far. He brought England’s 50 up with a 3rd Four in the over.
it was interesting listening to Alastair Cook on TMS talking about Roy, England could do worse then get him into the dressing room to give him a pep talk. Roy was looking much better on this second morning.
Jack Leach was definitely looking like a popper batsman, he saw off 5 balls from Thompson before hitting the final ball of the over for a straight Four.
Roy hit 10 from McBride’s first over including the first six of the game, to great cheers.
Leach brought up his maiden test half century with a streaky Four, he’d played a superb innings. England had moved to 89 for 1, they trailed by 33 with lunch 3o minutes away. That 50 made Leach the first Nightwatchman Opening the innings to reach that landmark, exactly what England needed!
Roy brought his own 50 up with a lovely shot for Four, taking England level at the same time, with one over remaining before lunch. Both men had played brilliantly! England’s resumed after lunch with Leach on 60 and Roy on 52, England on 122 for 1
Leach passed his previous highest score with a Four over the top of the slips, Adair got fingertips to the ball with a good effort, but the ball went to the Pavilion end, and Leach moved to 68. The nightwatchman, who’d come in at 11 in the first innings matched England’s score in that innings in the 39th over, he was playing some beautiful shots! A delight to watch
Ireland finally got their breakthrough when Thompson shattered Roy’s stumps, a good innings, he was out for 72 from 79 balls. Leach and Roy put on 145 and England were 171 for 2.
Joe Denly was next in, he’d top scored in England’s first innings with 26, could he cement the his place for the Ashes?
Leach was dropped on 92, an edge fired to Adair at 2nd slip who went for the ball with 2 hands but got neither on it. However a couple of balls later the ball went straight to Adair and he was out 8 short of his century. England were 182 for 3 a lead of 60. Leach had scored 92 from 162 balls including 16 Fours. Murtagh was the wicket taker, the man who’d shone on Day 1.
Poor Denly fell foul to a poor call from his captain, he was a long way down the wicket before Root changed his mind and O’Brien ran him out for 10. England were 194 for 4 a lead of 72.
Jonny Bairstow joined Root. But not for long, he got his second Duck of the match as he was trapped LBW by Adair. At that point I sought some fizzy pop and some shade, I rarely miss a moment of a game but it was just too hot!
I therefore missed the totality of Moeen’s innings, he made 9 before edging a Murtagh ball to Wilson. England had a lead of 97 with 6 wickets down.
Joe Root fell to a great catch from Wilson, a ball from the impressive Adair and the England captain was gone for 31. England were 239 for 7, a lead of 117.
Chris Woakes can be a seriously good batsman but he too edged a ball to the slips from the bowling of Adair he was caught by Balbirnie and out for 13. England were 248 for 8 a lead of 126. The 23 year old debutant was having a day to remember, with 3 wickets to his name.
Sam Curran in with Stuart Broad gave England fans something to shout about, he moved quickly to 36, hitting Sixes to both ends of the ground. He was clearly marshalling Broad as well as scoring runs, a very mature innings.
The partnership moved to 45 from 35 balls, valuable runs as England went to 293 for 9 before Curran took the bait from Thompson, he didn’t get enough on the ball and was caught by McCollum having made 37. England had a lead of 171. with 9 wickets down.
Stuart Broad looked like a batsman for a while, making 21 from 25 balls, England finished the day on 303 for 9 a lead of 181 runs. The day was brought to a halt early as lightning was seen and thunder heard. That brought boo’s but player safety has to be paramount.