England give new fans a crash course in reality with spectacular batting collapse against Ireland 1 year ago

England give new fans a crash course in reality with spectacular batting collapse against Ireland

Tim Murtagh ran riot on England's batsmen, who were bowled out before lunch

There is no better summary of life as fan of the England cricket team than the past two weeks. Last Sunday, the country was overcome with joy after watching England win their first World Cup, as Ben Stokes shouldered the responsibility of seeing England through the most important innings in the team's history. This week, England's Test team have suffered a spectacular collapse against Ireland, who bowled Joe Root's side out for 85 runs before lunch in just their third ever Test match.

The most telling part of this fiasco is that it's not even a surprise. England fans have become accustomed to this sort of batting collapse over the past few years. Just 18 months ago, they were bowled all out by New Zealand for 58 runs. This is the fourth time since 2016 that England have been bowled out in one session, an embarrassment they had not suffered between 1938 and 2016.

Once those first four wickets go, a mental block seems to come into action, completely stripping of the middle/lower order of their defensive batting abilities. There is a morbid comfort in watching it unfold, as if order has been restored after a high we had not experienced before and may not experience again.

At the very least, England fans were hoping that Jason Roy, whose expansive batting at the top of the order during the World Cup earned him an audition for the Ashes, could impress by getting some runs on the board, so desperate are they for a reliable opener. But they were not even afforded that luxury, as he was dismissed for five runs by the devastating Tim Murtagh, who cleaned up, taking five wickets including three consecutive ducks.

First, Roy edged to slip.


He then trapped Joe Denly lbw. At that moment, long serving England fans breathed a familiar sigh of disappointment. It was happening again and there was nothing they could do to stop the tide.


Root was gone for two runs before another Murtagh in-swinger sent Jonny Bairstow's off stump flying towards the Pavilion End.

It's not quite panic stations yet. Mental fatigue from the World Cup and readapting to the five day game will have played a part in Wednesday's collapse. But it is not a new phenomenon, this has happened before and could happen again. It serves as a stark reminder of the cruel nature of sport and how quickly it can send you crashing back down to earth.

Sport is a game of highs and lows, and no team experiences such deviation between the two than England's cricketers. Basically, if you've bought tickets for Day Five in any of the Ashes Tests, make other plans.