London [UK], June 3 (ANI): Following his side's 10-wicket win over Ireland in the first Test, England batter Ollie Pope said that he is loving his current role batting at number three as it offers him an opportunity to set up the inning for her team and also added that not much has changed since he got the role of vice-captain of the Test side.
Pacer Josh Tongue took a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as the hosts England clinched an easy win against a spirited Ireland side on Day 3 of the one-off Test match at Lord's on Saturday.
"It is always special to come to Lord's and play in front of a packed house. It is great to get back with the boys this week and we had a lot of fun out there, so it is nice to contribute as well. I am someone who likes to feel the rhythm of the game, find the tempo, and that is what I exactly had in County Championships stuff. I think I was playing well, probably not getting quite as many runs as I wanted, so nice to cash in this week, obviously pre-Ashes," said Pope in a post-match presentation.
"(On batting at No. 3) Yeah, loving it. You got a great opportunity there to basically set up the innings for your team. (On batting with Duckett) He is such a hard guy to bowl at so naturally he hits the bowlers off their lengths, hits their best balls for fours, so that helps me get some more bad balls at the other end as well. He batted beautifully as well. (On him being England's official vice captain now) I do not think much has changed to be honest. We kind of go about things the same way, we have got so much experience in the team to call upon so I guess it's about channelling some opinions to Stoksey so I think that's probably my main role. (On taking confidence from this game for The Ashes) To get a good run as a team together and for the batters to get a good feel of it and get that tempo of Test cricket again is really important. We got a bit of time together as a team now, we are just gonna get sort of bonding again as we have done before each series so far and the boys are excited for it," added Pope.
Pope has a great record batting at number three. In 13 matches and 21 innings, he has scored 996 runs at an average of 49.80, with three centuries and five fifties and best score of 205.
Josh Tongue made the most of his late call-up to the Test side to take a five-wicket haul to help England wrap up Ireland's second innings on Day 3, with the visitors setting a target of just 11 runs.
After Ollie Pope (205 in 208 balls) and Ben Duckett (182 in 178 balls) had fired England to a massive total of 524/4 declared on Day 2. It took quite an effort from Ireland to avoid an innings defeat. Ireland was bundled out for 172 in the first innings, with efforts coming from James McCollum (36), Paul Stirling (30) and Curtis Campher (33). Stuart Broad had taken a five-wicket haul and ended with figures of 5/51. After England crossed 500 in the second innings, they gained a lead of 352 runs.
In Ireland's second innings, when they needed to overcome this gigantic lead, Tongue took four of the top five batters out to reduce the visitors to 126/4. Harry Tector put up a fight with a half-century, a knock of 51 in 98 balls, but the real aggression came from lower down the order.
Mark Adair and Andy McBrine smothered the England attack for more than a session, putting on the highest partnership by Ireland in Test cricket to launch a late fightback.
The duo took Ireland from 162/6 to 325 before Adair fell 12 runs short of a century. Matthew Potts broke the threatening partnership to end Adair's stirring 76-ball 88 before Tongue completed his five-wicket haul with the wicket of Fionn Hand.McBrine remained unbeaten on 86 as Ireland finished on 362/9 with opener James McCollom, who was out retired hurt, unable to bat.
Zak Crawley (12) went on to smash three fours in four balls to take England to an easy win as they began their summer on a positive note despite the injury cloud around the quicks that had hit them right before the Test match.
England has less than two weeks before the first Ashes Test of the next ICC World Test Championship cycle in Birmingham. They also named a strong 16-member squad for the first two Tests of the series earlier in the day.
Pope emerged as 'Man of the Match' for his double ton.
Brief Scores: England: 524/4 and 12/0: (Zak Crawley 12) beat Ireland: 172 and 362/9 (Mark Adair 88, Andy McBrine 86, Josh Tongue 5/66) by 10 wickets. (ANI)