Michael Vaughan tips England to make Ashes statement against Ireland

Michael Vaughan believes England will attempt to make a statement to Australia ahead of the Ashes by beating Ireland inside two days.

England face Ireland in a one-off four-day Test at Lord’s on Thursday in their final game before the Ashes begins on June 16.

Australia secured an emphatic 4-0 win in the last Ashes series but England have since undergone a sensational transformation under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

Playing an attacking and entertaining brand of cricket, England have won 10 of their last 12 Test matches and head into a huge summer full of confidence.

As a result, Vaughan expects England to make a statement to Ashes rivals Australia by trying to beat Ireland within two days.

‘England will try to beat Ireland in two days,’ Vaughan wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph. ‘Previous generations would have used the game as a chance to have some time in the middle or put some overs in their legs – not this team.

‘They will just try to win as quickly as possible. Gilbert Jessop’s 120-year record for the fastest England Test hundred might be under threat again.

‘England will put the Ireland bowlers under pressure from the first ball. When the spinner comes on they will try to whack him.

‘When bowling, they will employ four or five slips and try to bowl them out in 40-50 overs.

‘This is an England team talking a different language to any other.

‘I think if you bat out a couple of maidens, or are two off 25 balls, the others in the team will be thinking: “What is he up to?”

‘They just have this cool, almost Saturday afternoon club cricket mentality where they are having a bit of fun and challenging each other to be as aggressive as they possibly can.

‘Put it this way, I do not think any of them are going to arrive at Lord’s and plan to score a Test hundred off 170 balls.’

This will be Ireland’s seventh Test match and second against England, following a 143-run defeat at Lord’s in 2019.

Ireland bowled out England for 83 on the opening day – Middlesex’s Tim Murtagh taking five wickets – but 92 from nightwatchman Jack Leech in the second innings got the hosts back in contention.

William Porterfield’s side were set 182 to win but fell way short of the target as they were skittled out for 38, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad sharing 10 wickets.

Ireland have played two Tests so far this year – suffering heavy defeats to Sri Lanka in Galle – while this will be England’s first Test since their two-match tour of New Zealand in February.

Following the Ireland Test, England will turn their attentions to the five-match Ashes series which starts at Edgbaston on June 16 as they look to win back the urn and deny Australia a first series win on these shores since 2001.

England have been hit by several injury scares ahead of the Ashes but McCullum has confirmed James Anderson and Ollie Robinson ‘should’ be fit for the series, even though both will sit out of the Ireland Test.

‘For the first Ashes Test, they both should be fit. They won’t be fit for this one against Ireland,’ McCullum said. ‘We’ll just have to monitor it over this next sort of while, but we’ve got some great options right throughout the squad.’

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