In years to come anyone who was not at Lords today, will glance at the scorecard and assume that England had a comfortable 10 wicket win against Ireland with well over a day to spare. While it is actually true, it does not tell the story of a remarkable third and, as it transpired, final day when Ireland’s batsmen refused to capitulate and against all the predictions forced their hosts to bat again.

 Despite 51 for Harry Tector and 44 from Lorcan Tucker, who extended their overnight partnership to 63 and the loss of Curtis Campher for 19, few could have imagined that, with the score on 162-6 half an hour before lunch, that the match would not over until twenty to five.

Also, let us not forget that effectively it was 162-7 because of the very unfortunate injury to James McCollum last evening.

At this point Ireland still required an unlikely 190 runs to force England to bat again. What happened over the best part of the next three hours will go down in the annals of Ireland cricket history. Mark Adair and Andy McBrine with a potent mixture of classic strokes, delicate and belligerent hitting and aggressive running ran England ragged.

Their partnership of 163 off just 165 balls obliterated all previous Ireland batting Test records. It became the highest partnership for any wicket, beating the previous record by 38 runs and both batsmen deserved to get their names on the famed Lords Honours Board to join Tim Murtagh for his 2019 performance.

Sadly, both came up just short but they both played the innings of their lives. Adair was especially aggressive only requiring 76 balls for his 88 which apart from 12, primarily leg side fours, smashed two huge sixes over mid-wicket. He fell getting a thin edge to a short ball from Matthew Potts. He had tried to ramp it, but it was a shot he had played successfully on several occasions in his innings.

England’s attack, all six of whom who were used and were all included in their Ashes squad announced today, were unable to remove McBrine. Only him running out of partners prevented the probability of reaching his century. His runs came all around the ground and while his 14 fours were predominately square of the wicket, he played virtually every ball on its merits.

After Adair’s dismissal, first Fionn Hand with 7 of 34 balls and then Graham Hume with 14 off 33 deliveries supported McBrine as they passed 352 thereby ensuring that for both of their Test matches here there was at least part of all four innings.

The biggest reaction from the crowd throughout the match was when Hume took Ireland past the innings defeat mark. A genuine roar erupted around the ground with many on their feet celebrating as vehemently as they did on that sensational first morning four years ago. In fairness, there were many England supporters joining in the acclamation and apart from the stunning nature of Ireland’s batting they were delighted to see virtually a full day’s play.

We should not forget that today papered over the cracks of a limited Test match bowling attack and the continued failure of key top order batsmen to provide a decent platform for competitive totals especially in the first innings.

I have written plenty about the abject failure of Cricket Ireland to provide proper infrastructure for a brave, talented and committed set of primarily young players so I am not going there again now, other than to say that today proved conclusively that with proper support Ireland can achieve much much more.

Congratulations today Ireland

Think what they might have done if this match had been decreed a priority.....

Match summary.
Ireland 172 all out in 56.2 overs (J. McCallum 36, S. Broad 5-51) and 362 all out in 86.2 overs (M. Adair, 88. A McBrine 86*, J. Tongue 5-66)

Lost to England 524-4 declared in 82.4 overs. (O. Pope 205, B. Duckett 182, A. McBrine 2-99) and 12-0 in 0.4 overs by 10 wickets