Stuart Broad got the ball rolling for England on the first day of their eagerly-anticipated Test summer with three wickets before Ireland regrouped to reach 78 for four at Lord’s.
Broad ripped through the top order to reduce the tourists to 19 for three before a review overturned the decision to give Paul Stirling out lbw for a duck.
Stirling then led the fightback for Ireland with a rapid 30 during a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket with opener James McCollum but Jack Leach ended the white-ball specialist’s fun before lunch to ensure England narrowly edged proceedings on the opening morning.
England’s journey to Lord’s from their Kensington hotel had been delayed by five minutes due to Just Stop Oil protesters and enhanced security measures were put in place by the MCC to thwart any potential disruptions during the four-day Test.
With overcast conditions and a green wicket at the Home of Cricket, it was no surprise when Ben Stokes put Ireland into bat after he won the toss.
The previous meeting between the nations here in 2019 had seen England all out for 85 before lunch on day one and this time it was the tourists who found themselves in early trouble.
Broad, with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson rested with the Ashes in mind, relished his chance to lead the bowling attack and made the breakthrough with the 26th ball of the morning.
Peter Moor hit a century and put on an unbeaten 232-run opening-wicket stand during last week’s warm-up match at Essex but was pinned in front lbw for only 10 in Broad’s third over.
Better was to come from the Nottinghamshire seamer in his next over with Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie out for a five-ball duck after second slip Zak Crawley took an excellent low catch diving to his left.
Broad snaffled Harry Tector two balls later when he inexplicably flicked straight to Matthew Potts at leg slip but Broad was denied a hat-trick opportunity when an lbw decision against Stirling was overturned on review after ball-tracker showed it was missing leg stump.
A fine spell of three for 14 from five overs was still a pleasing start to the Ashes summer for Broad.
England debutant Josh Tongue replaced Broad at the Pavilion End and was able to get up to 91mph on the speed gun but Ireland regrouped to pass their 38 score here four years ago and back-to-back boundaries for Stirling off Tongue brought up their fifty in the 17th over.
Opener McCollum had helped with a rearguard effort down the other end, but Stirling’s enterprising knock ended when another attempted sweep flicked off his glove and gave Bairstow a simple catch behind the stumps to help Leach get off the mark this summer.
McCollum, now joined by Ireland wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker, survived some short bowling from Tongue and Potts before lunch to walk off unbeaten on 29 from 93 balls.