AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


A huge test summer for England begins as they face Ireland in a one-off test at Lord’s for the first time since 2019.

With the Ashes just around the corner, this will be the last chance for many players to get red ball gametime before the first Ashes test, and the only test England will play before the big series start.

It’s also another milestone for an Ireland side that has played a growing amount of red ball cricket recently, including two tests against Sri Lanka and a warm-up against Essex as their international status grows steadily, and the visitors arrive as a better outfit than the 2019 side that played their part in a wild rollercoaster of a test that saw wickets tumbling from start to finish.

The hosts are 1/9 with to take the victory – you can get 13/2 about a draw or 16/1 about an away victory.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

England XI: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue, Jack Leach.

How things have changed since 2019 for England. A spell in the doldrums – including a nightmare Ashes trip down under and one win in 18 tests – had consumed the men’s test side before Rob Key decided to pair Brendon McCullum as new head coach with swashbuckling captain Ben Stokes.

The rest, as they say, is history: An all-out attacking approach, with aggression, powerful stroke play, a devastating middle order led by the red hot Johnny Bairstow and the brilliance of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson, led them to 10 wins from 12 tests, including a clean sweep of New Zealand (home) and Pakistan (away) along with a defeat of South Africa on home soil and a one off victory against India.

England have quickly gone from a side on the ropes to arguably the form nation in the test game, and excitement for the Ashes is nearing fever pitch.

This game is a vital step in that preparation, as half the batting line up (Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow) have had game time in first-class cricket and half have been in the IPL (Harry Brook, Ben Stokes and Joe Root), meaning that this will be the only real chance for decent Ashes prep for three of England’s top runscorers under Brendon McCullum.

Johnny Bairstow – who has retaken his place at the harsh expense of Ben Foakes – is feeling his way back into proceedings with just nine innings under his belt, one of them coming in the Vitality Blast whilst his best of 97 and 6=57 came in a 2nd XI match.

Bowling could be a possible problem for England this summer – Jofra Archer is out for the entire summer, Olly Stone is suffering from a side strain, and Mark Wood will need careful management through the summer. Jimmy Anderson and Ollie Robinson miss this test but Stuart Broad, Matthew Potts, and Josh Tongue, the latter making his debut in this arena, are all present.

🇮🇪 Ireland 🇮🇪

Ireland Squad: Andy Balbirnie (c), Peter Moor (wk), Lorcan Tucker (wk), Paul Stirling, Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, Craig Young, James McCollum, Matthew Foster, Thomas Mayes.

Ireland have lost all six of their official tests since gaining test playing status in 2017, but they’ve covered a fair amount of ground in that journey and reached a new landmark when playing two tests in Sri Lanka, giving this group of players – the most talented the Irish have every enjoyed – vital experience in new conditions.

Returning to Lord’s – via a four-day game against Essex which provided a good hit-out for batters James McCollum, Peter Moor, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker and Mark Adair (playing for Essex) whilst Thomas Mayes impressed with 4/68 and 3/65, whilst Fionn Hand also got plenty of time in the middle.

Ireland’s ability with the ball shouldn’t be forgotten – Irish seamer Tim Murtagh took a superb 5-13 as England were skittled out for 85 before lunch on the first day of the 2019 Test – and Mark Adair, who took six wickets here in 2019 and is vastly improved since, gives them a real threat with the ball.

Openers James McCollum and Peter Moor enjoyed centuries as they chased down a generous target of 232 at Chelmsford but facing England’s bowlers with the new ball, they could struggle – as many openers did through last summer’s tests. Middle order batters made the difference last summer so the likes of Lorcan Tucker, Paul Stirling, and Curtis Campher could provide real options.

Verdict – Overall

The gulf in quality and experience between these two sides is shown in the match odds, although there’s the possibility for big price swings depending on who bats first – see 2019’s flurry of wickets and the low target that Ireland faced for victory. Ireland are much improved since then, so don’t be surprised to see them outperform their odds of 16/1 either, although England’s quality looks likely to pull them through.

Verdict – Batters

With lots of raw quality in both bowling attacks and the Dukes ball here, it could pay to keep with the growing trend in test match cricket – especially in England – of middle order batters having the best conditions and biggest impact on proceedings. It was a big factor for visiting teams last summer, and under McCullum England have seen plenty of big innings from those further away from the red ball.

It could pay to focus on those with quality red ball experience, and this summer the three names that fit the bill are Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope, with the latter chosen for top first innings bat honours here. He’s been the leading batsman 3 times from 13 innings with Stokes as Captain and has 374 runs for Surrey in the County Championship from 8 innings, so should be ready to hit the ground running here. 4/1 makes appeal about him being England’s first innings top scorer.

For Ireland, Lorcan Tucker makes plenty of appeal. He scored 37, 45 and 80 in Ireland’s first innings against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (twice), whilst he made 97 in the first innings of their warm up at Chelmsford. Coming in at 7 means he’ll avoid the worst of the new ball, and his prospects are most attractive, and he can give backers a good run for their money at 9/2. If the Irish get skittled, then Mark Adair is also an interesting contender. He made 85 playing for Essex last week and is a 33/1 shot here.

Verdict – Bowlers

Bowlers could have a field day here with clouds forecast for all four days, and those leading the attack start at an advantage. Stuart Broad will be popular in the markets but Matty Potts has also impressed as he bids to stake an Ashes place and he could be value to run him close at 11/4. On his last test start Potts took 4/61 in New Zealand (first innings) and his last three first innings bowling records in the County Championship read 4/68, 2/41, and 3/53.

Mark Adair took six wickets for Ireland here in 2019 and arrives as a better bowler who’s the clear leader with Josh Little rested for a World Cup qualifier and Tim Murtagh retired. Having toiled in Asia, these conditions should suit much more and as someone with height and seam ability he makes plenty of appeal at 5/2.

Man Of The Match

Assuming an England victory, Ollie Pope would have a chance if landing a big score whilst this could be a handy way to cover Stuart Broad having an excellent time with the ball.


BACK Ollie Pope Top England Run Scorer (1st Innings) 1 pt at 4/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Lorcan Tucker Top Ireland Run Scorer (1st Innings) 1 pt at 9/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Matty Potts Top England Wicket Taker (1st Innings) 1 pt at 11/4 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Mark Adair Top Ireland Wicket Taker (1st Innings) 2 pts at 5/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Ollie Pope Man of the Match 1 pt at 8/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Stuart Broad Man of the Match 1 pt at 8/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (JUNE 2023): PROFIT 0.00 points



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