England took early control of the one-off cricket Test against Ireland at Lord’s on Thursday, with Stuart Broad taking a five-wicket haul to help dismiss the visitors for 172 before a typically aggressive reply left Ben Stokes’ team only 20 runs behind.
England reached stumps on Day 1 on 152-1, with opener Ben Duckett on 60 off 71 balls and Ollie Pope on 29 at nearly a run a ball.
It was the ideal start to its international summer for England, which is using the match as something of a warm-up for the Ashes series against Australia starting June 16.
Broad is facing serious competition for a place in England’s fast-bowling department for the Ashes but, at 36, he continues to deliver for his country and had team-high figures of 5-51 as Ireland was bowled out just after tea in 56.2 overs. It was Broad’s 20th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Offspinner Jack Leach weighed in with 3-35 and Ireland’s top scorer was opener James McCollum with 36.
Already facing an uphill challenge, Ireland — seeking a first win in its seventh match at Test level — couldn’t contain England’s top order that went on the attack, as demanded by captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum in the new era.
Zak Crawley hit 56 off 45 balls before getting caught — at the second grab — by debutant seam bowler Fionn Hand off a powerful straight drive.
Crawley and Duckett shared 109 for the first wicket, and Duckett was still there at the end in the early-evening sunshine as part of a 43-run partnership with Pope.
England gave a debut to seamer Josh Tongue, who didn’t take a wicket. Jonny Bairstow returned as wicketkeeper for a first international since August, after missing five Tests because of a broken leg.
Before the match started, the England players’ bus was briefly delayed at their hotel by protestors against new fossil fuel production.
Ireland has World Cup victories against England in the 50-over and T20 tournaments but has never beaten England in a Test. In their only previous Test matchup in 2019 at Lord’s, Ireland gave England a scare after dismissing the home side for 58 in the first innings.