IF captain Andy Balbirnie needs a prop for his team talk ahead of today’s Test match at Lord’s, he only needs to pin up last week’s Michael Vaughan column: England will try to beat Ireland in two days.

It was already disrespectful to Ireland that this ‘Test’ is only scheduled for four days, instead of the usual five, but one of England’s best known captains suggesting it can be won in half that time is downright insulting.

True, the last red-ball encounter between the sides four years ago was over in little more than that but only because Tim Murtagh and Mark Adair bowled England out for 85 in the first session of the game.

It was Murtagh’s finest hour-and-a-quarter. The veteran seamer grabbed 5-13 - the fastest and cheapest five-fer in the history of the famous old ground - and rookie Adair backed him up with three wickets.

Ireland then suffered the vagaries of an English summer: toiling on the hottest day of the year to dismiss the hosts a second time, before trying to chase down a modest victory target as the ball hooped around corners on a muggy third morning.

It is not wishful thinking to believe that the visitors would have won - and won easily - had those bowling conditions presented themselves a day earlier.

The absence of Lord’s maestro Murtagh isn’t the only reason Ireland have a much tougher task on their hands this time, though.

In 2019, England were coming down from the emotional high of winning the World Cup on the same ground only 10 days before, under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, and were resting several players from that team ahead of the Ashes.

This Test is seen more as a warm-up for the upcoming series against Australia, with England’s batting at full strength and hungry for runs, and three seam bowlers vying for possibly one place in the first Ashes Test in a fortnight.

Ireland are without Josh Little, the star left-arm quick who has been playing in the IPL, and while five of the 2019 side had extensive experience on the county circuit, only Paul Stirling can now boast that on his cv.

Then there is Bazball, the exciting, fearless brand of play that England have adopted under coach Brendon ‘Baz’ McCollum and captain Ben Stokes.

“The way they play, it’s probably going to be a million miles an hour, something that we haven't come up against,” Balbirnie said.

“We’ve played England in T20s, we know how good they are in white ball and we found a way to beat them in those formats, so I think we’ve got to just react on the spot.

“It's going to be incredibly challenging.”

“But the beauty of it is it’s a one-off Test, so we can just go ahead and express ourselves and hopefully entertain people too."

IRELAND (from): Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Matthew Foster, Fionn Hand, Graham Hume, Tom Mayes, Andrew McBrine, James McCollum, PJ Moor, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (w/k), Craig Young