Jason Roy was dismissed for five on his Test debut
Michael Atherton says England’s World Cup winners would have benefited from a longer break, as they slumped to 85 all out against Ireland on the opening morning at Lord’s – 10 days on from their stunning triumph over New Zealand and only eight days ahead of the first Ashes Test.
England included five from their World Cup squad in the team to face Ireland in the one-off Test match, with debutant Jason Roy, captain Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes contributing a combined seven runs.
Tim Murtagh got his name on the honours board, taking 5-13 in nine overs, as England were bundled out before lunch. Ireland then earned a 122-run first innings lead after they were bowled out for 207.
Rest for World Cup winners
“I have enormous sympathies for these guys. It can’t be easy to follow what happened on that unbelievable day at Lord’s and such a gruelling, long World Cup as a whole,” Atherton said.
“I know how I felt at the end of the tournament, and all I was doing was talking about it and writing about it. Heaven knows how tired these guys must have been.
Joe Root fell for just two as he led the side just 10 days on from the World Cup final
“There was bound to be some emotional and physical come down after it all. It can’t be easy to get yourself back up for this game, whether it’s a Test match or not.
“I just remember what Jonathan Trott said after the Champions Trophy in 2013, when they went into a practice game for the Ashes three days later, he said he didn’t have time to process what had happened.
“Obviously England lost that Champions Trophy and won the World Cup but the same thing rings true, I think it would have been beneficial for these guys to have a week or two off.
“They’ll probably come out now and score a load of runs in the second innings. But, regardless of whether it went well or badly, a bit of time off would have been beneficial.”
Tenacious Ireland on top
“I think Ireland played skilfully and tenaciously,” Atherton added. “It was a truly brilliant morning for them, a morning that will live with Murtagh forever.
Tim Murtagh took 5-13 as England folded before lunch
“He is 37 and has been a top-class performer in helpful conditions for a long time. He bowled superbly and will not enjoy a better moment in cricket than that.
“He will be a threat second time around as well. It just depends on how big a lead Ireland can get.
“The pitch is flattening a bit, so England can still turn this around. They have the ability to get a lot runs in their second innings and build a lead of their own, but clearly they will need to bat far better.”
Roy’s Test beginnings
“I don’t like to pass judgement after one innings,” Atherton said. “Jason Roy has got to be given a chance, which the selectors will do. They obviously want him to play in the Ashes; they’ve inked him in.
“His challenge is going to be a combination of things. Clearly the red Dukes ball moves more than the white Kookaburra, and bowlers are trying to get you out with more attacking fields – all of those kinds of things.
“But, the main thing, for an aggressively-minded opener like him, is how committed he is going to be to his game?
England vs Ireland
July 25, 2019, 10:30am
“It’s not easy in Test cricket, as sometimes you’re going to be coming in with just a dozen overs of the day left, with a pressure to play for time, or in the second innings when the pitch has changed – suddenly it is not so easy to play shots.
“That is the challenge for Roy, how is he going to play after two or three failures? How is he going to play when the situation might demand you have to play differently?
“He is a very talented and confident player. We all hope he can do it, but nobody really knows yet. You have to give him a chance.”
Ashes top-order troubles
“England’s top three is so fluid,” Atherton added. “I don’t think anybody could say they’re certainties for the Ashes. But what the selectors have to avoid, is chopping and changing every game.
Benedict Bermange looks at some of England’s past batting implosions following their 85 all out against Ireland.
“I can’t see them making too many changes between now and the first Ashes Test, other than the obvious names [Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, James Anderson] missing here returning.
“Clearly the top three has been an issue for a while now. England have got away with it for two reasons, firstly because of the depth of their batting – the lower middle-order has constantly pulled them out of the fire – and, secondly, because the pitches they’ve played on have made life tough for the top three. They’re backed Stuart Broad and Anderson to bowl the opposition out for fewer.”
Positives from day one
“Broad looked much better from the Nursery End in his second spell, either side of tea. His first was economical, but not particularly threatening,” Atherton said.
Olly Stone took three wickets on his first Test appearance
“Olly Stone bowled a really eye-catching spell after tea too, from the Pavilion End. He looked fast, with seemingly a good action for reverse-swing. You need that to be a good a good bowler on flatter pitches.
“In the morning, when it was green, a Tim Murtagh is king. But, when the sun is out and the ball is old, you need someone like Stone, with his pace – England have a few in their ranks now, with the likes of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood to add to the mix.
“Sam Curran is not someone you can ignore either. His first ball was a pretty innocuous long-hop and he picked up a wicket with it.
Watch highlights from day one of the Lord’s Test between England and Ireland at Lord’s
“He is that kind of cricketer. I think it was Ed Smith who said, rarely a day goes by where he doesn’t put his print on proceedings and make something happen.
“That said, whether he gets in England’s side for the Ashes probably depends on injuries and the balance of the side.”
Watch day two of England vs Ireland at Lord’s from 10.30am on Daily Week Sports Cricket and Daily Week Sports Main Event.