Tim Murtagh produced a dream spell in the one-off Test between England and Ireland at Lord's on Wednesday. The 37-year-old Murtagh picked up 5/13 in nine sensational overs of swing bowling as England were bowled out for 85. Bowling against an England team that still consisted of many match-winners from their glorious World Cup conquest a week before, England were found wanting against the swing of Murtagh. For Murtagh, this was a magnificent return to a venue where he has achieved tremendous success in the last decade. The 37-year-old seamer, born in London but qualified for Ireland through his grandparents, has spent much of his career with Lord's based-Middlesex, whom he joined from London rivals Surrey in 2007. He has taken 800 first-class wickets, including 291 at Lord’s alone but he described his efforts on Wednesday as ‘sensational’.
“As a kid growing up I dreamt of being on that honours board, probably not in the away dressing room -- but that makes it even more special. It's as special as it gets for a cricketer...It's as good a feeling as I've had in my career,” Murtagh said.
Murtagh also played a cameo lower down the order to help Ireland establish a lead of over 100 against England. In the Test against Afghanistan, Murtagh smashed 54 and 27 in both the innings and it resulted in a record which has never been achieved by a No.11 in the history of Tests. Murtagh became the first No.11 ever to hit 25+ scores in both innings of a Test. Arthur Mailey of Australia hit 21 and 46 in the Sydney Test against England in 1924 which were the best but Murtagh emulated the feat. The 37-year-old became the 19th No.11 to smash a fifty in that position in Tests. Agar of Australia holds the record for the highest individual score with 98 which he achieved in the Trent Bridge Test against England in 2013.
While Murtagh and Ireland were ecstatic, England batting coach Graham Thorpe offered no excuses for the collapse, not blaming the hangover of the World Cup success. "You'd probably say there aren't too many sports where you win a World Cup and are playing again a week later. But it's a balancing act with the Ashes coming up. I don't think you can bury your head in the sand. The schedule is what it is and we have to do our best to give the players the opportunities to put them in the best place to start an Ashes series, which is an important part of an already exciting summer. There are no real excuses for us being bowled out for 85 against Ireland but congratulations to them, they put us under pressure and didn't let us off," Thorpe said.