Joe Root condemned the Lord’s pitch as ‘sub-standard’ after England got out of jail yesterday with a turnaround Test win over Ireland.
‘I don’t like saying this but the wicket was sub-standard for a Test match,’ the England captain said after the Irish were routed for just 38.
‘I thought it wasn’t even close to a fair contest between bat and ball throughout the whole game. First innings, last innings, when you are getting scores like that, that tells a story in itself.’
William Porterfield’s team held high hopes of a famous victory when they began a run chase of 182 at 11.20am but folded in just 86 minutes after morning rain caused an hour’s disruption.
Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad made the most of conditions murky enough to demand the use of floodlights, finishing with a career-best six for 17 and four for 19 respectively.
The bowler-friendly nature of the surface produced by Karl McDermott — in his first season as head groundsman — sparked fears of England being faced with something similar when they return here in a fortnight for the second Ashes Test.
Root said: ‘All we have to do is make sure we try to exploit it the best we can, find a method to cope and score runs.
‘The challenge will be the same for Australia as it was for us and Ireland this week. It will make for entertaining cricket if that’s the case but we will just have to wait and see.’
Provided with a total to defend by nightwatchman Jack Leach’s 92 — an innings which won the Somerset spinner the man of the match award — Woakes and Broad showed that England have a couple of bowlers in decent nick ahead of facing up to the stiffer task of taking on the Australians from next Thursday.
‘They just asked the right questions over and over again with the odd bouncer. It’s a very simple way of talking about how you want to play Test cricket but I thought they did it extremely well,’ Root said.
Ireland were ‘gutted’ according to captain Porterfield, after relinquishing the opportunity to mark only their third Test with a result to trump any of their World Cup scalps over the years.
One positive of a four-day match finishing with five sessions unused was that it gave England players a few extra hours of rest, after they hurtled into this match 10 days after winning the World Cup at the same venue.
Root added: ‘It’s been 10 weeks of hard cricket, of high emotion and of ups and downs. It does take a lot out of you. I knew it was a quick turnaround. You have to suck it up and get on with it. It’s not been perfect but we’ve dealt with it pretty well.’Daily Mail