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We cannot take our eye off the ball at Lord's, says Wilson


On strike: Gary Wilson insists Ireland won’t just be making up the numbers in their Test duel with England
On strike: Gary Wilson insists Ireland won’t just be making up the numbers in their Test duel with England

By Ian Callender

Three days out from their first Test match against England, the Ireland squad got to sample the unique atmosphere of Lord's yesterday, and are more determined than ever not to be cannon fodder for their experienced hosts.

Although six of the side played at the Home of Cricket in the one-day international against England in 2017, it will be a first match experience at Lord's for most of the others and, of course for all 11, a first Test match.

Even Gary Wilson, Ireland's third most experienced player behind Kevin O'Brien and William Porterfield, did not expect this day to come in his career.

"In my generation I don't think any of us expected to be playing a Test match at Lord's, so to have the opportunity is great," said Wilson.

"But we mustn't lose sight of the fact that we have to come here and perform as well. I mean that's what it is about, it's not just turning up and having all the fanfare around Lord's, we have to try and put in a good performance against a very good England side.

"But we've got some good players as well and we're confident we can do that."

The lack of red-ball action is the obvious concern and last week's attempt at a two-day game against Middlesex 2nd XI was cut short by rain, with just over 100 overs played and only five of the batsmen making it to the middle in an Ireland innings which lasted only 30 overs.

"We had a couple of days at Merchant Taylor's and a few guys had time in the middle, while for the bowlers it was about getting some overs in the legs," added Wilson. "But it's nice to finally get here to Lord's and get to know the conditions and facilities - and for those guys who haven't played here before they'll find the slope fairly interesting."

It won't be rain that will affect the match, however, rather the players are preparing for temperatures well in excess of those they experienced in March in India, in their last Test match against Afghanistan, with the needle set to be well into the 90s degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

"It might have an impact on the wicket in that it might dry it out as the game goes on but, I guess, we'd rather have good weather than poor rainy weather," said Wilson, who also has more experience than most of transferring quickly between white-ball (one-day) cricket and the red ball.

"I've had a lot of time in county cricket going from format to format, and you just learn it is something you have to do. I guess there's enough miles in my legs now to know if you haven't hit a red ball for a while you don't suddenly forget how to hit one. We've got a good opportunity now with three days practice and so it's just about fine tuning."

Tim Murtagh on his home turf knows all about the famous Lord's slope and will be a huge benefit to the less experienced members of Ireland's attack while captain Porterfield led by example with the bat in the ODI, scoring 82 on Ireland's last visit.

Meanwhile, CIYMS are through to the semi-finals of the Irish Senior Cup for the first time after beating Leinster by six wickets in Rathmines yesterday.

The home side requested the match be put back a week because George Dockrell and Gareth Delany were involved in Ireland's Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe last Sunday but James Cameron-Dow dismissed Delany in the fourth over, Dockrell was caught behind off Allen Coulter for one and at the end of the 11th over, Leinster were 18-4.

A fifth-wicket stand of 25 hinted at a recovery from 43-4 but Obus Pienaar broke that partnership and the last five wickets fell for 15 runs in four overs, Leinster all out for 61, with the South African finishing with 4-11 from 4.3 overs.

The chase wasn't entirely straightforward with CI's top three, for the second day in a row, being dismissed cheaply. Dockrell then trapped Pienaar leg before for 18 but Jason van der Merwe and Ryan Hunter ensured no panic, wrapping up victory in the 14th over, well before the rain arrived in Dublin.

It appeared much earlier at The Lawn and only 17.3 overs were possible in the other delayed quarter-final between Waringstown and Instonians, with the visitors having reached 52-2.

A minute's silence was held in memory of Waringstown member, player and supporter Paddy Allen, who would have been MC for the game but who died suddenly last Sunday.

The captains have agreed to replay the game at Shaw's Bridge next Sunday and although there are no competition rules for non-weather related postponements, both clubs expect Cricket Ireland to allow them a second attempt to complete the match.


Rathmines: Leinster 61 (23.3 overs, O Pienaar 4-11, J Cameron-Dow 2-10, J Mulder 2-11, A Coulter 2-11) CIYMS 62-4 (13.5 overs, B Azhar 3-43). CIYMS beat Leinster by six wickets.

The Lawn: Instonians 52-2 (17.3 overs, O Metcalfe 29; G Kidd 2-13) v Waringstown. Abandoned.


Stormont: Civil Service North 61-0 (16 overs, M Ellison 39 not out) v Lisburn. Abandoned.

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