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Five-star Tongue strikes as England down gutsy Ireland

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LONDON: England debutant fast bowler Josh Tongue marked his call-up to the Ashes squad with a five-wicket haul as England beat Ireland by 10 wickets in their warm-up match at Lord’s on Saturday.

After Tongue’s return of 5-66, it took England just four balls to score the 11 runs they needed for victory, with Zak Crawley hitting three fours off Mark Adair.

Ireland, yet to win any of their seven Tests, did well to take the match beyond tea on the third day of four as they avoided an innings defeat with a score of 362.

The tourists produced their own version of England’s aggressive ‘Bazball’ batting style during a record Ireland stand of 163 between the seventh-wicket duo of Andy McBrine (86 not out) and Adair (88).

England’s win was built on an imposing first-innings total of 524-4 declared featuring player of the match Ollie Pope’s 205 and Ben Duckett’s 182.

Victory meant England had now won 11 of their 13 Tests under captain Ben Stokes — who didn’t bat or bowl in this match — and coach Brendon McCullum.

Ireland resumed on 97-3, a deficit of 255 runs, with opener James McCollum unable to bat again having retired hurt Friday after twisting his right ankle trying to pull Tongue.

Ireland lost just one wicket in Saturday’s opening hour, with Lorcan Tucker (44) and Harry Tector (51) in the runs.

But they were 162-6 when Curtis Campher miscued a sweep off Root to short fine leg where England captain Ben Stokes, who has been battling a longstanding knee injury, hobbled after taking a simple catch.

The dismissal was Stokes’s first direct involvement in a match where he has yet to bat or bowl.

England want to protect the all-rounder’s fitness ahead of the Ashes, while still benefitting from his leadership skills.

But there was not much he could do tactically as McBrine and Adair played shots worthy of top-order batsmen on a placid pitch against an attack missing James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, both rested ahead of the first Test against Australia at Edgbaston which starts on June 16.

Adair took Ireland to 200 by hoisting Root for six.

And the fast bowler, whose previous highest Test score was 32 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in April, went to fifty with a four off Stuart Broad.

Left-hander McBrine’s fifty kept included 10 boundaries, with Broad and Leach taking the brunt of the assault.

But number nine Adair was eventually bounced out by Matthew Potts for a 76-ball 88 that included 12 fours and two sixes.

With Ireland nine wickets down after Fionn Hand’s exit, England were able to extend the afternoon session by 30 minutes in a bid to force victory before tea.

England were denied an innings win, however, when tailender Graham Hume hit two fours off successive deliveries from part-time off-spinner Joe Root — shots greeted by huge cheers from a sun-drenched crowd.

With McBrine 85 not out at tea, the question was whether Hume could stay in long enough to get his partner to a hundred and a coveted place on the Lord’s honours board.

But McBrine was left stranded when Hume was bowled by Broad.

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