McCollum’s lack of first-class cricket highlights Lord’s challenge for Ireland | Andy Bull

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Dearth of longer-format matches in visitors’ playing schedule means they are being set up to fail on the Test match stage

High summer came just a couple of hours late to Lord’s. It arrived round about lunchtime, when the sun came out from behind the clouds that had blanketed the ground earlier in the day. It was huddle-up and clutch-your-cuppa weather in the morning, and a thankless time for batting. By lunch, though, the place was en fête. A cream-coated Dixieland jazz band was parping brass in the Harris Garden, and that side of the ground was alive with panama hats, cravats and candy-cane coloured blazers and caps. The Test season had started at last.

By then, Ireland’s batting was as good as broken. They had taken a beating in the first hour of the day, 15 for one, 19 for two, 19 for three, a hair’s breadth from 19 for four when Stuart Broad almost had Paul Stirling first ball. Ireland’s opener James McCollum just about pulled his team through it. He had 29 off 93 balls at the break, a tidy little innings in which he rode out a couple of torrid passages when he was beaten inside, outside, and every which way by Matthew Potts, who worked the ball both up and down the slope.

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Written by Andy Bull at Lord’s
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