England v Ireland: Astonishing for England to be blown away - Agnew
|Specsavers Test, Lord's (day one of four)|
|England 85 (Murtagh 5-13, Adair 3-32, Rankin 2-5) & 0-0|
|Ireland 207 (Balbirnie 55; Curran 3-28, Stone 3-29, Broad 3-52)|
|England trail by 122 runs|
Before the Test against Ireland, we talked about how important it was for England's batsmen to score runs and build confidence for the Ashes.
Instead, we had the astonishing sight of them being bowled out for 85 before lunch on the first day of a Lord's Test.
England were tentative, playing nondescript strokes and not committed to what they were trying to execute. They were a team feeling their way back into Test cricket.
It is hard to explain why that happened and some will say they were suffering a World Cup hangover. The players will hate that, but it may well be true.
For the five players in the Test side that were involved in the World Cup, it must be difficult to be back playing so soon after that magical final on the same ground 10 days ago. I get that.
Similarly, the rest of the team may have felt left behind by the hullabaloo of the World Cup.
However, almost all of them are playing to keep their spot in the Ashes. Not only that, but there was a momentum to be taken from the World Cup into the contest with Australia. That has now stalled.
The ball did a little bit, nothing more. Tim Murtagh and Mark Adair bowled nicely, but it was nothing England have not seen before.
In the case of Murtagh, they should not have been surprised by what he did, because it is the way he operates in county cricket. No great pace, putting the ball on the spot with a hint of movement this way and that.
He dropped the ball on an area the size of a pocket handkerchief, like my dad used to challenge me to do in the back garden.
Yes, the Ireland new-ball pair asked questions, but it was nothing like what England will get from Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson when ithe Ashes series starts on 1 August.
Some will point the finger at Jason Roy and say that his early dismissal is proof that he should not be playing Test matches on the back of one-day performances.
He was actually one of the few that was not too culpable in his own demise. He got a good ball, so this innings did not tell us anything about his suitability for Test cricket.
For the rest, it was so disappointing no one took the opportunity on offer. They were over cautious and indecisive.
Instead of settling questions that linger over their chances of regaining the Ashes, England were blown away.
In all of the fuss of the World Cup, it was easy to forget the issues that have surrounded the Test team for some time.
The batting, the dropped catches, the habit of wasting the new ball.
All three were on show today. After the batting failure, England's bowlers failed to follow the Irish example of making the batsmen play.
There was the chance that went between wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and first slip Joe Root that should have been Bairstow's catch.
It was those little things that served as a reminder that, at this level, you can't just turn up and expect things to click back into place.
Maybe it was a day England had to get out of their system. For a lot of them, this was their first red-ball cricket in some time. It is also worth remembering that England were without Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, who have both been rested, as well as the injured James Anderson.
It wasn't all bad, either. They fought back after tea and I like the look of Olly Stone, who bowled with pace on his debut.
Amid all of the England talk, it is right to praise Ireland, who were terrific. They might be slightly disappointed about the way they batted, but bowling England out in the morning session would have been a mere dream before the match began.
In truth, you couldn't really make up how far ahead Ireland are after one day of their first Test against England.
That is not to say England are out of this match. They could bat all day on Thursday, into Friday and then bowl Ireland out.
If they do, it will allay some of the Ashes concerns thrown up by the first innings. If they get skittled again, you have to say it isn't looking good.
They have much deeper reserves of Test experience when compared to Ireland. They must draw on that over the rest of this match.
England will know that Test match wins are not just given to the opposition and they must demonstrate that to opponents that are new to the game.
I wouldn't bet against England winning, but they have a lot of hard work to do.