IRELAND skipper William Porterfield described leading his team out for their first ever Test match at Lord’s as ‘pretty special’ and although the match ended in a 143 run defeat to England, he feels there are ‘a lot of positives’ to take from the encounter.
“It was a pretty special occasion,” beamed the Donemana man.
“Walking down the Long Room, taking the lads out onto the pitch will be one of the best memories I’ll take away from cricket.
“Even all the World Cups and things like that, leading the team out at Lord’s is right up there.
“There are a hell of a lot of positives have come out of the game from the first couple of days. The second day was arguably our best day, it was more like a day of Test cricket.
“The conditions were tough, the overheads were more like playing in India or Sri Lanka with the temperature and the humidity and things like that but in English conditions.
“But the shift the seamers put in was right up there and in a lot of ways that was a better day than the first.”
The Irish side started only their third ever Test match in inspired form, as England were bowled out for just 85 runs before lunch for the first time ever in a Lord’s Test, and their innings – 23.4 overs long – was their shortest ever at the Home of Cricket.
Tim Murtagh was the destroyer in chief, claiming the cheapest five-for in Lord’s history (5-13), while ex-Bready paceman, Boyd Rankin picked up a brace.
In reply, Porterfield mistimed a pull and offered a catch to midwicket before he could reach 20, while Donemana’s Andy McBrine scrapped through 36 balls for his 11 before Rankin followed suit as Ireland finished on 207 for a lead of 122.
“The mood in the camp was pretty positive after that first session because things aren’t going to get much better than that!,” he exclaimed.
“To get 10 wickets in the first session and finish the day with a 120 lead we were fairly happy.
“We’d have taken that at the start of the day, but obviously an extra 50 or 70 would have been great in that first innings.”
Ireland battled back superbly in the second half of day two when temperatures soared to almost 40 degrees, to put themselves in position to seal what would have been a magnificent victory.
England had looked to be stretching out of reach of the tourists before Mark Adair’s three wickets led a spirited Irish fightback. England’s tail wagged to take them past 300, but when thunderstorms ended the day’s play, the game was still in the balance.
Unfortunately for Ireland, who needed 182 runs on day three to secure their first victory in Test cricket, conditions were markedly different to those encountered on day two. The overhead conditions and general humidity were conducive to swing bowling, as was the temperature – some 15 degrees cooler.
In the end, Ireland succumbed to a special spell of new ball bowling from Chris Woakes (6-17) and Stuart Broad, and found themselves all out for just 38 in 15.4 overs.
“We knew it was going to be pretty difficult and with the cloud cover and rain around,” Porterfield observed.
“It was always going to be hard work. They have a pretty good attack and I’m not going to fault anybody.
“On another day, if we get an extra 50 or 70 in that first innings and we manage to prolong things then they end up batting on the morning of day three in the weather like that and we’d be starting any run chase after lunch, but it’s one of those things.
“We had a good couple of hours at the start of the game in conditions that suited us but then it turned out their way at the start of day three and that’s the way the game rolls.”