“Maybe worth a review from Stone?” says Simon McMahon. “There are probably one or two in the England dressing room who would have …”
“As a long time Ireland fan, I genuinely appreciate the enthusiasm of your opening preamble,” says Andy Donald. “However, I don’t think that enthusiasm will be shared by the large majority in Ireland. Giving Ireland Test status was a huge step, but it sometimes feels like a token gesture for screwing with the ODI and T20 World Cups. I think so much more can be done for smaller cricket playing nations and until then, an Ireland win here will be met with little more than amused curiosity in Ireland than anything impactful in the long term.”
We’ve had a few emails along similar lines, which is surprising and a bit disappointing. Surely a win today would start to change that?
WICKET! England 303 all out (Stone b Thompson 0)
Haha, what a start. Stuart Thompson has bowled Olly Stone with the first ball of the day, a beautiful inswinger that swerved thorugh the gate and sent the leg stump flying. Ireland need 182 to win!
The Ireland players stroll out to the middle. Tim Murtagh, as usual, is walking in that self-conscious, almost shifty manner, like somebody who thinks he’s being watched. And he bloody is being watched, because he’s been the star of the show.
Play will start at 11.10am. In other words, any minute now.
Thanks to Al Ferguson for providing the Test Match Special link.
Here’s Andrew Hurley, returning to a theme of yesterday’s OBO. “There is a huge culture issue in the team… and here Bayliss is hugely at fault. His laissez-faire attitude fine for the ODI team as they had a strong and respected captain, but it doesn’t work for the Test side. Their tendency to collapse is (from my expert psychological viewpoint!) linked to the culture. NZ rugby team have a ‘no dickheads’ policy – England Test cricket would do well to meditate on their culture with this in mind.”
Imagine if certain football teams adhered to that policy.
“I’m really keen on a fresh start (regardless of the Ashes result) with Bayliss going and a new captain,” says Neil Harris. “Root has to bat No3 and he has to get back to his best; relinquishing the captaincy can help this. Buttler captain, Stokes vice-captain. But who’s the coach? There seems to be very little chat about this in the press.”
It sounds like there may be an interim coach for the winter, perhaps Chris Silverwood. It will probably take a while to get the team Ashley Giles wants, with a head coach and three assistants.
The start will be delayed. The covers are on and there’s some light rain falling. I don’t think it will be too long before we receive the gift of Test cricket.
“In Ireland’s sporting history, maybe this will be seen as the realisation of ‘The Test Dream’,” says Ian Copestake. “But I remember watching the Sopranos episode of the same name and thinking that season five, episode 11 was when the shark was deliberately being tempted into open waters in front of a ramp with some guy in an Evel Knievel suit and a bike to match revving up his motor preparing for the off. I hope for Ireland’s sake this weird contrivance is more than a dream.”
(NB: clip is NSFW/contains adult language/FOR GOODNESS SAKE DON’T SHOW IT TO THE WEANS)
“I agree with changing the captain,” says Patrick Brennan. “For some reason it just doesn’t seem to sit right with Joe Root. Results haven’t been awful overall, but the ridiculous collapses are just happening too often for comfort. I’d give serious consideration to making Stokes captain. Yes, he’d have a heavy workload, but he’s arguably turned into our most reliable (and sensible) batsman in the last six months. Buttler as ODI/T20 captain once Morgan wants to stop.”
I doubt Stokes will ever captain England after Bristol, except maybe in the odd tour match. Whether that’s correct is another discussion. In truth, I’m not sure I’d like him as captain anyway – his workload and commitment to every single delivery are already off the charts, and he is a brilliant unofficial leader.
“This match has demonstrated how disrespectful it was to only give Ireland a four-day Test,” says David Hopkins. “Suggesting that they would need any more than two and a half days to beat England was frankly insulting.”
David Hopkins is here all week. It’s a four-day week though.
“What’s the answer?” says Matt Turland. “Obviously I’ve not asked a question there, but this Test team… what’s the answer? For me, I’d definitely give Buttler the captaincy and bring Foakes back into the fold. Other than that, I don’t really know anymore. Ali probably needs a bit of time away, Bairstow should probably be rotated out for a little while and Root should be made to bat at No3 but I don’t really know anything, do I?”
Nobody does. Buttler as captain after the Ashes (if they lose) is a persuasive idea, but I worry about the workload as he is going to be the ODI captain sooner rather than later. I think England need to split the captaincy, but I’m not sure how they do that. I fear that, by the end of the summer, all options will be on the table, including a surprise return to the Test captaincy for Chris Cowdrey.
Hello. It’s really quite simple. Ireland could win a Test match for the first time today, by beating England, at Lord’s. Modern life is infected by hyperbole – I just had the tastiest dry toast of my entire life – but this, truly, would be one of the most unlikely victories in Test history. If Ireland pull it off, 26 July will join 24 February, 2 March and 12 June as a de facto St Patrick’s Day, burned into the memory as a cultural and religious celebration of stuffing the English.
This match has been so life-affirming, not to mention surreal, that it could have been directed by David Lynch. Given all that has happened, it’s easy to forget this is only the third day. England will resume on 303 for nine, a lead of 181, with Stuart Broad and Olly Stone aiming to slog the target past 200. There are no obvious demons in the pitch. If Ireland hold their nerve, they should win. But that, cliché fans, is easier said than done.