England declare with victory in sight after Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett heroics
Ben Stokes declared after Ollie Pope registered a first double century for England to raise the possibility of victory being achieved against Ireland inside two days at Lord’s.
Pope reached 200 at the start of tea to back up Ben Duckett’s record-breaking innings earlier on the second day but his dismissal the next ball saw Stokes call in England, who had scorched 524 for four from 82.4 overs.
With a lead of 352 and virtually a whole session left, Ireland now face an uphill battle to force this one-off Test into a third day let alone make England bat for a second time at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
Duckett’s lavish display dominated the morning session, with the opener scoring a hundred in his first Test innings on home soil and showing why he is the perfect fit for Brendon McCullum and Stokes’ aggressive ‘Bazball’ style as he achieved 150 off the same number of balls.
It saw Duckett snatch the record for quickest Test 150 at Lord’s off Australian great Don Bradman but even his dismissal for 182 failed to stem a run rate that was consistently over six.
Pope picked up the baton and tucked into some poor Irish bowling to walk off for tea on 197 not out before a glorious skip down the wicket saw him hit Andy McBrine for a maximum to reach 200, but when he was stumped next ball, Stokes called in the troops to try and force a win inside two days.
After an “almost perfect” start to summer, according to Stuart Broad after his five-wicket haul, England quickly moved beyond the tourists’ total on day two.
Duckett had been watchful following Zak Crawley’s dismissal on Thursday night, but was in sumptuous form straight away, cutting away the first ball for four before further drives took him within sight of a second century at Lord’s this season after he posted 177 here for Nottinghamshire in April.
With Mark Adair struggling, Duckett raced onto 99 with a cover drive and flick off his pads down to the fine leg boundary in a 35th over that also brought up the hundred partnership between Pope.
The next over produced further milestones, with Duckett able to celebrate three figures for England for only a second time after he nudged into the leg side for a single to short midwicket.
Duckett held his arms aloft after he made it to a hundred from 106 deliveries following a chanceless innings.
England’s number three Pope was more frenetic during the first hour, with the occasional play-and-miss married up with the odd boundary down to third man that did not always look completely controlled.
Despite that, England were still rattling along at more than six runs an over with Ireland lacking the X-factor of rested seamer Josh Little following his Indian Premier League exploits.
Pope survived a review for an lbw against debutant Fionn Hand before lunch to walk off three short of a century, but the session belonged to Duckett, who swept his way into the history books.
Two off Hand ensured Duckett reach 150 off the same amount of balls to set a new quickest 150 in Test cricket at Lord’s, beating Bradman’s previous record of 150 off 163 deliveries during the 1930 Ashes.
Duckett picked up where he left off after lunch and crunched 14 from one Andy McBrine over with a slog sweep for the first maximum of the Test and a reverse sweep for four.
Another drive to the boundary saw Duckett move onto 182 and bring up the 250-run partnership, but Hume got movement from a replacement ball later in the over and England’s centurion edged onto his own stumps.
The Lord’s crowd acknowledged Duckett’s superb innings with widespread applause and now all eyes were on Pope.
Pope reached his hundred with a single in the second over of the afternoon session and it settled him down.
England’s vice-captain freed up to pull and cut away for four with greater conviction before a reverse paddle scoop brought another boundary.
The drive was the next shot used with a six off McBrine followed by a crunch down the ground against Campher to reach 150 off 166 balls.
More landmarks followed, with a single for Pope taking him past 2,000 Test runs and the hundred partnership achieved with Joe Root, who paddle scooped his way to fifty and scored his 11,000 run in Test cricket in another crushing session for red-ball novices Ireland.
A maximum straight after tea clinched Pope’s maiden Test double hundred off 207 balls, the quickest by anyone in England, but when McBrine dismissed him after bowling Root, Stokes declared.
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