Andy McBrine can’t wait to play a second Test match at Lord’s and the North West Warriors captain is hoping to play a much fuller role than he managed last time.

It  is now four years since Ireland had their first experience of a Test match in front of a full house Headquarters and McBrine is set to be only one of five players to get a second chance. He knows it will be another special feeling.

“It doesn’t come around every year so when it does it’s obviously a special occasion and the fact that we have got a run out against Essex this weekend is invaluable. That’s what we will take from this week, spending time in the middle, that’s better than practising.

And while McBrine took some stick on day one, mainly against his Ireland team-mates who are guesting for Essex, he did end up with two wickets and can expect a more helpful surface when he joins the Ireland attack this morning, the final day of their three day warm-up.

McBrine wasn’t needed on that historic first morning at Lord’s in July 2019, with Tim Murtagh ripping through the England side on his home ground , the hosts dismissed for 85 by lunchtime.

“Yeah, that is a good memory and we then took a first innings lead so it was an enjoyable first two days. The third morning not so much, but that’s what can happen in cricket, says the Donemana man who has been Ireland’s first choice spinner for the last two years.

So how does he feel, preparing to bowl to an England Test team which has won 10 of the 12 Tests under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendan McCollum, the vast majority with fast scoring, hence the new term Bazball.

“They are certainly playing an aggressive style or cricket but if we get our plans right we can look forward to it.”

Many better teams than Ireland have presumably come up with plans to thwart this new way of playing Test cricket – without success – but McBrine insistrs they are not going along as cannon-fodder.

“We never go into a match just to make up the numbers. We consider we cam compete with anyone on the day”

The problem for Ireland is that they have failed to string enough good days together to win a Test match, although the three back-back Tests in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka last month showed definite signs  of imrprovement. Indeed, it could be said that Ireland threw away a great chance of at least getting a draw in their last Test in Galle, after failing by just eight runs to crack the 500 runs barrier in the first innings.

The batting is undoubtedly the strength of this Ireland team and McBrine, coming in at No 7 or 8 is aeplaying his part, his second innings 72 against Bangladesh now his new benchmark for expectation.

He backed that up yesterday in Chelmsford with 67 on the day Paul Stirling returned to the side and made it back to back centuries in red-ball cricket, despite not having played a single game of multi-day cricket between August 2019 and April 2023.

Graham Hume struck two early blows last night to leave Essex 17 runs behind at the close with eight second innings wickets standing.