‘I never thought it’d be the away honours board’ – Tim Murtagh lives the Lord’s dream

‘I never thought it’d be the away honours board’ – Tim Murtagh lives the Lord’s dream
8:56 AM ET
  • Andrew MillerUK editor, ESPNcricinfo

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      Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England’s historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate – it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007

Tim Murtagh has been plying his trade at Lord’s for more than a decade, but it took him just 78 minutes on his first visit as a Test cricketer to achieve his most cherished ambition. At 12.18pm, he found the edge of Moeen Ali’s bat to bag his fifth wicket of the morning in just his eighth over, to secure a coveted place on the dressing room honours boards.

And when England were all out for 85 on the stroke of lunch, it was Murtagh’s honour to lead his Irish team-mates off the field, boasting the stunning figures of 5 for 13 in nine overs.

“I’m not quite sure what’s happened over the last two hours to be honest,” Murtagh told Sky Sports at the interval. “Obviously it’s the dream just to play here in the first place, but get on that on that honours board, and for all the bowlers to chip in and do really well, it’s a fantastic first session for us.”

Murtagh, who turns 38 next week, first played at Lord’s in 2004 when he was on Surrey’s books, but has been a regular here since 2007, racking up a first-class haul of 291 wickets at 23.98 until this morning’s crowning glory.

And while he was pretty confident that his tried-and-tested method of challenging the edge of the bat from the Nursery End, and nibbling the ball down the slope, would pay dividends on Ireland’s big day, he was understandably taken aback by the speed of his success.

“To be honest, I thought it would take a bit longer than that if I did get there,” he said. “But everything felt really good today. The ball came out nicely and just did a little bit off the wicket.

“I mean, I should know how to bowl on this ground, I’ve been here long enough to know how to bowl there. But the key thing was just to get out there, try and let the pitch do a bit of work, find a little bit of nip sideways, both ways, and a bit of swing. So that was the plan.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be on the away board when I first started playing but I’ll take it wherever it goes, to be honest. It’s a dream for any cricketer playing a Test match here, so I’m just over the moon.”

It wasn’t a one-man show by any stretch of the imagination. Murtagh’s new-ball partner Mark Adair also bowled with discipline on his Test debut, but missed out on fellow new-boy Jason Roy’s wicket, after robbing himself of a plumb lbw due to over-stepping. And then Boyd Rankin swooped in to saw off the tail as England were routed in a woeful 23.4 overs.

“Adair was fantastic, especially after getting the wicket with the no-ball early on,” said Murtagh. “And Boyd there, coming in as well and finishing off the job was fantastic.”

And with a Lord’s lunch to follow, and the chance to put his feet up and watch his team-mates build on their bowler’s efforts, Murtagh admitted that life couldn’t get much sweeter.

“Yeah, I might have dessert as well,” he joked.

 

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