Let's start with the positives. Ireland have comfortably taken the Lord’s Test into a third day with Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker batting through the final 40 minutes in the London sunshine last night.

Tector has looked serene and oozing the class of a batter ranked No.7  in the world in the one-day international arena, while Tucker, after being hit on the helmet first ball by debutant Josh Tongue, curtailed his attacking intent and looked solid against both pace and the spin of Jack Leach.

The bottom line, though, is that Ireland still need another 255 to avoid a third successive innings defeat in a Test match, three games in which they have taken only 13 wickets while conceding 1,819 runs.

This match could have turned as ugly as the last time Ireland bowled in the longer format, when Sri Lanka piled up 704 for three in Galle last month, but under Ben Stokes this England team has only one aim — to win as quickly as possible.

So, having scored 372 runs in a little over two sessions — at a run rate of 6.5 an over — the captain pulled out with a lead of 352. Unless Ireland bat again, the Test is over for PJ Moor, Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling and possibly James McCollum, the first innings’ top scorer as well.

His second knock was cut short by a freak injury when he twisted his ankle, defending a ball from Tongue, and was helped off the ground by the two team physios. He was immediately taken to hospital by ambulance for a scan.

If he can return today, there is enough batting in this Ireland line-up to make England bat again and while it may only delay a seventh straight Test defeat, it will go a long way to claiming respectability. Because over the course of the first two days, the difference between the two teams, unsurprisingly, has been vast.

This Ireland attack must be considered one of the weakest to have bowled in Test cricket, only highlighted by a confident, aggressive England batting line-up who score quicker than any team in Test history.

The elephant in the room continues to be Josh Little, Ireland’s young, high-profile pace bowler who last week played in the final of the Indian Premier League but was told to miss this match to ensure he was fully rested for the World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe later this month.

That, rather than this Test match, is the ‘pinnacle event’ for Ireland and with Craig Young deemed not fit enough to last (the notional) four days and Barry McCarthy still on the injured list, Ireland are without three of their front line bowlers.

Little may have been just as expensive but he would have at least given the England batters the ‘hurry-up’ and posed them greater problems than Mark Adair, Graham Hume, Fionn Hand, recalled before the two more senior bowlers, and Curtis Campher.

England’s overnight batsmen, Ben Duckett and Olly Pope, batted through the morning session with Duckett scoring 101 runs himself — Pope would score exactly 100 in the second session — with Andy McBrine’s spin finally introduced in the 40th over to try and tame the free-scoring batters.

It made little difference. At lunch, McBrine had bowled eight overs for 43 and after the break he was given only two two-over spells, with Duckett hitting the first six of the match in his second over and Pope and Joe Root clearing the boundary in his fourth.

When the England lead reached 200, we had our first real sight of Bazball as Pope and Root, who become only the 11th batter and second Englishman after Sir Alistair Cook to score 11,000 Test runs, brought out the reverse sweeps and ramps; the next 170 runs came up in just 20 overs. It was men against boys.

The only reason that Stokes did not declare at tea was because Pope was still three runs short of his first Test double century but that came up with another six off McBrine.

To be fair to the Donemana man, he finished on a high and claimed his first two wickets at Lords, bowling Root and then having Pope stumped.