Jonny Bairstow loses his off stump as the Poms struggle.
Jonny Bairstow loses his off stump as the Poms struggle.

Poms humiliated on Ashes eve by Test minnows

No matter how dark things are there is always someone worse off than yourself and for the Australia's batsmen struggling in the tour match at Southampton that someone was their English opposite number.

A week out from the first Ashes game in Birmingham England was dismissed for 85 in the first innings of the match at Lord's against Ireland.

Just 10 days out from England's greatest-ever victory in the World Cup final at the same venue the side was bowled out before lunch by a side playing its third-ever match.

It was the first time in history England have been bowled out in the first session of a Lord's Test and just the fourth time they have lost 10 wickets in a session. It was also the shortest completed innings England has ever played at home.

Former captain Michael Vaughan rated the morning's play as even more exciting than the match against New Zealand.

Australia's batsman have been struggling with difficult conditions against a ruthless bowling attack in an intra club match in Southampton but there woes were eclipsed by those of the Ashes opponent.

England captain Joe Root said before the game that the Test would set the tone for the way the side wanted to play in the series that starts in Birmingham on August 1.

England was bowled out inside 24 overs with only one of its top order batsmen posting double figures in scenes few imagined they would witness in the four day match which was being treated as a warm up for the Ashes.

Ireland's veteran Tim Murtagh took 5-13 on the eve of his 38th birthday. The swing bowler, who played for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs cricket club as a young man, has 800 first-class wickets and has been a mainstay of the Middlesex attack for many years.

Murtagh, who has picked up 291 wickets at an average of 24 bowling at Lord's in County cricket, dismissed both of England's openers, ending Jason Roy's debut in his second over.

Mark Adair, who opened the bowling with Murtagh, took 3-32 and former England seamer Boyd Rankin's 2-5 helped wrap up the innings.

The Irish bowlers used the ball brilliantly, moving it in the air and off the wicket and testing the home team's fragile top order.

Adair had revenge after being unceremoniously dropped by Warwickshire two years ago, the club's cricket director Ashley Giles saying at the time that there was no room for the bowler who had spent much of the year in the second XI.

 

Mark Adair appeals successfully for the wicket of Joe Denly.
Mark Adair appeals successfully for the wicket of Joe Denly.

Root dismissed concerns his side would be complacent after the World Cup victory.

"We couldn't be better-placed in many ways. There's a huge amount of confidence coming off the back of that," Root said.

"The most important thing for me, the message that there has been to the squad, is to play with a huge amount of pride and passion and intensity. The intensity this week will set the tone for the rest of the summer."

The England captain said that the performance against Ireland, who were granted Test status two years ago, would be a guide to how the team would go in the Ashes.

"That's definitely what we are looking to do and that's been the message to the group. It's a great chance. We don't want to sleepwalk into this. Any Lord's Test match at the start is a good chance to set a precedent for the way we want to play for the rest of the summer. I don't want anyone walking into it and not being 100 per cent on it."

In Southampton, a five-wicket haul by Pat Cummins was further proof of Australia's bowling strengths while questions remained around the batting.

The Tim Paine-led Hick XII lost its last three wickets cheaply and was all out for 120 on the second morning in reply to the the Alex Carey led Haddin XII's 105 in the four day practice match at Southampton.

Losing 20 wickets for 225 is not an ideal way to warm up for the Ashes.

Peter Siddle's 4-31 did his prospects no harm in the game which precedes the announcement of the Ashes squad.

Cummins took 14 wickets at an average of 30 in Australia's World Cup campaign but looks better with a red ball in his hand.

The leading bowler in the world he is expected to play a key role in the Ashes along with Mitchell Starc (0-38), Josh Hazlewood (1-20) and James Pattinson (1-16).

The bowl off for the fifth place is fascinating. Jackson Bird took 3-28 in the first innings and Michael Neser 4-18.

Selectors will announce the Ashes squad at the end of the practice game in Southampton.