The ODI World Cup champions England proved that the Test cricket is a different ball game and played a cricket contrast to the one they played at this same venue a few days back.
Tim Murtagh ran through the batting order with some help from Rankin and Adair. In fact, nobody knows the conditions better than Murtagh who has been playing for Middlesex for years now, and nobody has more wicket than Murtagh at Lords’ since 2000.
Murtagh knows where to pitch the ball and the slope very well. The conditions were great too, helping the bowlers initially. Also, the English batters didn’t approach the game right.
Definitely, Roy’s record has been impressive in recent times, and he earned his cap but once again, Test cricket needs much more. Playing at Lords’, most of the players would prefer playing at the back foot, playing it late. Most importantly, the patience to leave deliveries. Roy, a modern-day cricketer clearly didn’t show that skill. He was on his front foot, tried to feel a delivery that was going away, swinging. Also, the gap between the bat and pad.
Denly, who was looking good with a few boundaries, was beautifully set up by Adair who kept pitching up the delivery though he was taken for runs. Denly was playing the deliveries across, and the wicket delivery caught him plumb in front.
The major problem with Burns was that he wasn’t playing the deliveries with the full face of the bat. He was trying to drive the ball straight while the bat was slight facing onside. He was in doubt, thanks to Murtagh who beautifully set him up with the deliveries that missed his bat a few times before getting out.
Possibly the best Test player in the line-up wasn’t seeing the ball till the end and was quick to play the ball which he completely missed it at the end. His bottom hand wasn’t in the right position, didn’t come down at the right time.
Jonny Bairstow, another modern-day cricketer, loves to take the ball early instead of playing it late. Definitely, counter-attacking is one way, but one should know which delivery to play and which he must leave alone. Here, Bairstow was chasing an outside off delivery which had lateral movement and was enough to get through the gap of bat and pad. Again, it is important to play the ball close to the body as well. It was a technique which helped Kohli do well in his second Test outing in England after 2014 blunder.
Once again, technical error. Woakes was early to the shot and his bottom hand wasn’t helping him with the stroke.
A beautiful way to set him up with a few in-swingers and Moeen Ali had no foot movement what so ever and nicked the one that went away. Clearly, he wasn’t watching the ball, and he was in two minds as well.
Anything that was in and around the fourth stump line has been troubling Broad for a while now. He struggled with those deliveries that were coming in, and Rankin did well to come around the wicket to pitch in the fourth stump line.
Curran was playing well, but a few deliveries he was hitting were on air and Ireland were quick enough to understand that, added pressure on Curran, opted for a deepish short leg. The fielding set up looked like the bowler was going to bowl a bouncer, but a double bluff from Rankin who went on to bowl a full delivery got Curran.
Olly Stone, for his debut, did play some glorious shots from the deliveries that had a bit of width. Adair then bowled a back of a length delivery that nipped back in to hit the stumps after hitting the elbow of Olly Stone. Once again, the problem was bringing the bat down at the right moment.
In return, Ireland did play a lot of false shots and edges but they made sure that the edges fall shot of the players. Also, they comparatively played the deliveries late, was happy to leave the ball alone.
England so far is doing good in the second innings. It will be interesting to see if they can carry on.
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