Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett conspire to crush Ireland


Lunch England 325 for 1 (Duckett 161*, Pope 97*, Crawley 56) lead Ireland 172 (McCollum 36, Broad 5-51) by 153 runs

Bazball and patience are polar opposites but even under the former’s ethos, Ben Duckett continues to prove that old adage that all good things come to those who wait.

Nearly seven years after making his Test debut and having spent six of those years on the outer, Duckett has cemented his place at the top of England’s batting order and now a place on the Lord’s honours board with a century against Ireland.

His unbeaten 161 was his second ton in six months and first on home soil following his 107 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in December. And it was part of an even bigger picture as England piled on the pain for Ireland during the second morning of their Test encounter.

Ollie Pope went to lunch on 97 not out, sharing an unbroken stand worth 216 for the second wicket with Duckett as the pair added 173 runs from 29 overs for the session.

The run rate was by no means relaxed but there was an air of serenity, with Duckett and Pope only occasionally looking like they were trying to make things happen and otherwise cashing in on some loose Ireland bowling.

England resumed on 152 for 1, just 20 runs in arrears with Duckett on 60 and Pope on 29. Duckett cut the first ball of the day, from Graham Hume, for four and, later, he punched another boundary off Mark Adair through wide mid-off to bring up England’s 200. Two balls later, Duckett guided one leg side to move to 98 and he and Pope reached their 100 partnership off 112 balls.

A single off Hand worked just past a reaching short midwicket raised Duckett’s ton off 106 balls, including 14 fours. Two balls later, Pope brought up his fifty from 64 balls via a single off a leading edge towards cover-point.

Another four to Duckett, his 17th of the innings, piercing short extra cover off the bowling of Curtis Campher brought he and Pope to the brink of their 150 partnership and they got there off 157 balls when Duckett slapped the next delivery towards deep point for a single.

Pope survived an Ireland review for lbw when debutant Fionn Hand struck him just above the knee roll with a ball that came back sharply as ball-tracking showed it was going just over the top of middle stump and Hand had to be satisfied with a maiden, one of only four for Ireland’s bowlers all innings with two apiece for him and Adair.

When Duckett swung Hand towards deep midwicket and ran two, he brought up his 150 off as many balls, surpassing Sir Donald Bradman’s record of 166 balls for the fastest Test 150 at Lord’s. He didn’t stop there, slashing Hand’s next delivery through the covers for four to have England positively motoring along by now. He and Pope raised their 200-stand in 34.3 overs with Duckett having scored 101 runs in the session.

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