Tim Murtagh rips through hapless England for a five-for as Ireland take charge

Ireland's Tim Murtagh reacts after England's first innings, in which he took five wickets at the home of cricket Lord's in his country's first Test against England. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 24 July 2019

Tim Murtagh rips through hapless England for a five-for as Ireland take charge

  • Tim Murtagh, who is 37 years old, took a stunning five for 13 in nine overs
  • Ireland then consolidated their position by making 207 in reply

LONDON: Ireland ended England’s World Cup honeymoon in dramatic style on Wednesday, bowling out the host nation for a derisory 85 on the first day at Lord’s as they eyed one of the biggest shocks in Test history.
Tim Murtagh, who is 37 years old, took a stunning five for 13 in nine overs on a ground where he plays for Middlesex.
Ireland then consolidated their position by making 207 in reply for a first-innings lead of 122.
When they were all out, there was still time for one more over and England felt compelled to have nightwatchman Jack Leach, rather than a specialist batsman, face Murtagh.
Leach somehow survived a maiden and England closed on nought for nought in their second innings.
Appropriately, it was tailender Murtagh who took Ireland into a hundred-run lead in their first Test against England after the visitors suffered a slump of their own when he pulled veteran paceman Stuart Broad for four.
In making 16, Murtagh scored more runs than he conceded while the fact 20 wickets fell broke a first-day record of 18 for a Lord’s Test that had stood since 1896.
Ten days after England won the World Cup at the ‘home of cricket’ against New Zealand and a week ahead of the Ashes, Ireland exposed their batting fragility in brutal fashion.
Just three England batsmen made it into double figures — Joe Denly, who top-scored with 23, debutant Olly Stone and Sam Curran — in an innings that was over inside 24 overs on a baking day in London.
It was the fourth time in 34 Tests that England had lost all 10 wickets in a session — a worrying sign ahead of the five-Test series against Australia.
Murtagh’s ability was no secret but his superb return was the stuff of schoolboy fiction.
The seamer, who recently took his 800th first-class wicket, gave a classic demonstration of his skill after England captain Joe Root won the toss and batted on an emerald green pitch prepared by Irish groundsman Karl McDermott.
“I’m not quite sure what’s happened in the last two hours,” an elated Murtagh told Sky Sports during the lunch interval. “It’s a fantastic first session for us.”
“I should know how to bowl on this ground — I’ve been here long enough,” added Murtagh, a Middlesex player for more than a decade.
The home side were soon in deep trouble despite Root’s insistence they did not want to “sleepwalk” into this four-day match ahead of the Ashes.
Test debutant Jason Roy, fresh from his World Cup heroics, fell for five when Murtagh, short of express pace but remorselessly accurate, squared him up with first slip Paul Stirling holding the ensuing edge.
Debutant Mark Adair (3-32) had his first Test wicket when Denly was leg before wicket and he also captured the prize scalp of Root, plumb lbw for two.
When Jonny Bairstow was bowled for a duck — one of three noughts in the England innings — off an inside edge by Murtagh as he attempted a booming drive, England were 42-5.
And when Murtagh had Moeen Ali caught behind for a duck, the seamer had a place on the honors board for all those who take five wickets in a Test innings at Lord’s.
Stone drove three fours in four balls from Stuart Thompson before he was bowled by Adair to end a stunning morning’s play.
Ireland made a steady start before captain William Porterfield, hit on the head by a Stone bouncer, pulled Curran to midwicket on 14.
But Andrew Balbirnie had a reprieve when, on 10, he edged Broad between Bairstow and first slip Root for a chance that belonged to the wicketkeeper.
Stirling had made 17 when Root, compounding a miserable day for the captain, dropped a slip catch off the unlucky Broad, leading the attack in the absence of the injured James Anderson.
Balbirnie rubbed salt into England’s wounds with a 56-ball fifty that included nine fours.
At tea, Ireland were 132-2 but they lost four wickets for nine runs, with Balbirnie bowled for 55 by Stone who, in common with Broad and Curran, took three wickets.
“Tim bowled well, he showed the length to bowl on this pitch,” said Stone, who took 3-29.


Australian Open: Top-ranked Ash Barty a step closer to ending Aussie drought

Updated 28 January 2020

Australian Open: Top-ranked Ash Barty a step closer to ending Aussie drought

  • Barty aiming to be the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open
  • She won her first title on home soil in Adelaide in the lead-up to this season’s first major

MELBOURNE, Australia: Top-ranked Ash Barty is a step closer to ending a long drought for Aussies at the national championship.
Barty saved set points in the 11th game and another in the tiebreaker before seizing the momentum against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a 7-6 (6), 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena. She next faces No. 14 Sofia Kenin, who reached the semifinals at a major for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 78-ranked Ons Jabeur.
Barty fended off eight of the nine break-point chances she faced in the first set before finally getting the upper hand when she won a 22-shot rally, defending for much of it just to stay in the point, at 3-2 in the tiebreaker.
After clinching the first set in 69 minutes, she went on a roll to take a 4-0 lead in the second and take all the momentum away from Kvitova, who beat Barty here at the same stage last year before losing the final to Naomi Osaka.
Barty rebounded from that to win her first major title at the French Open, where she beat Kenin in the fourth round. Until she arrived in Australia, Kenin’s run at Roland Garros — which included a third-round upset over Serena Williams — was her best at a Grand Slam.
There’s a lot of local expectation riding on Barty, who is aiming to be the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open. The first major of the decade may see the end of the 42-year wait, and an Australian man hasn’t won since 1976. Barty is already the first Australian woman since 1984 to reach the semifinals of the home Open.
Barty doesn’t expect to feel the pressure. She won her first title on home soil in Adelaide in the lead-up to this season’s first major.
“I’m not going to have anything but a smile on my face when I walk out onto this court,” Barty said of her next match.
Kenin and Jabeur were both into the quarterfinals for the first time at a major.
For Kenin, who was born in Moscow but moved to the United States as a baby and grew up in Florida, the degree of difficulty will only increase.
“I’m in the semis,” she said, when asked for her preference of semifinal rival. “Anyone I play, they’re playing really well.”
Kenin is playing her best tennis, too. Her best previous run at Melbourne Park ended in the second round, when she lost to Simona Halep last year.
She finished last year ranked 14th, and could match Barty in one category: they were tied for most hard-court wins on the women’s tour last year with 38 wins each.
Kenin’s run here included a comeback win in the third round against 15-year-old Coco Gauff, when she made only nine unforced errors across the second and third sets.
In the second set against Jabeur, she saved three break points in a long sixth game, then broke serve in the seventh game to set up the win.
“It was a tough moment,” Kenin said. “I didn’t know it was 10 minutes (but) it was pretty long, the game. After that I got my momentum.”
Jabeur, a 25-year-old Tunisian, was the first Arab woman to make it to the last eight at a major.
“Ï think I proved that I can be in the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam, even if I have a lot of things to improve probably physically and mentally,” she said. “But I’m happy that I pushed through a lot of things. I proved to myself that I could do a lot of great things.”
In later men’s quarterfinals, 20-time major winner Roger Federer was playing 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren, and seven-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic had a night match against Milos Raonic of Canada.