Tea, day 2: Ireland hit back after Leach-Roy stand

After a promising start, England lost four wickets for 23 runs

adair-reuters Ireland's Mark Adair celebrates taking the wicket of England's Jonny Bairstow in the second innings of the one-off Test at Lord's | Reuters

Ireland rocked England after nightwatchman Jack Leach fell just short of what would have been a remarkable Test hundred as the visitors pressed for a shock victory at Lord's on Thursday.

England were 209 for five in their second innings at tea on the second day, a lead of just 87 runs.

Leach made 92, his highest first-class score, after being sent in as a nightwatchman on Wednesday.

That was more than the 85 all out England, with Leach at number 11, managed between them in their first innings as veteran Ireland seamer Tim Murtagh took 5/13 on his Middlesex home ground on Wednesday. Leach and Test debutant Jason Roy, who made 72, put on 145 for the second wicket.

But from 171/1, England lost four wickets for 23 runs as they slumped to 194/5 in what is Ireland's first Test against them and just their third in total.

England resumed on their overnight 0-0 after Ireland had made 207, featuring Andrew Balbirnie's 55.

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The one-off fixture was scheduled to last four days, rather than the standard five for a Test.

Wednesday had seen England bowled out in a single session for the fourth time since 2016, a worrying sign ahead of an Ashes series that starts next week.

Leach, who had been in sight of an achievement that eluded batting greats Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar—a Test hundred at Lord's—walked slowly off to a standing ovation after batting for 220 minutes and facing 162 balls, hitting 16 fours.

At 182/3, England were only 60 ahead and they then suffered a self-inflicted wound when Joe Denly was run out after being sent back by Root when the skipper was already two-thirds of the way down the pitch. And when Adair had Jonny Bairstow lbw for a duck, Ireland were back on top.