London: After suffering a ten-wicket defeat to England in the one-off Test at Lords, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie revealed that an injured James McCollum wanted to come out to bat with a protective boot on to help Andy McBrine hit a century.
On day three, Ireland resumed their second innings from 97/3. But they were effectively four down as McCollum suffered an ankle injury while batting, which ruled out his participation from the rest of the match.
After Harry Tector had set the base for an Irish fightback with a fine 51, McBrine and Mark Adair joined forces for a mammoth 163-run stand for the seventh wicket. But Adair fell for 86 and McBrine was left stranded at 88 not out as Ireland’s innings ended at 362/9, leaving England to chase 12, which was achieved in four balls.
“He had the pads on, he had the boot on, it was all a bit chaotic in there. Andy actually came in at tea and said he doesn’t want him to bat. They’re good mates and he (McCollum) is really sore. He really didn’t want him to hobble out on the boot, but it was eventually agreed that if it was one hit away, that he would go out, and just hold up an end.”
And so it was chaos. He came out on the balcony with the crutches at tea-time and a couple of members looked over and couldn’t really believe what they were seeing. It was quite entertaining,” said Balbirnie after the end of the match.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, if you’ll pardon the pun, I think Andy would have gone out for Prince (McCollum). But it wasn’t to be. In the end it didn’t really matter, but it was fairly chaotic at tea-time,” he added.
Despite the loss, Balbirnie stated that making England bat again, especially when many feared it won’t happen, was a small win for Ireland.
“(The dressing-room) was a tough place to be yesterday, in the evening particularly, but we showed character today. We’ve shown in our Test career that we have that character – and that bouncebackability,” he said.
“But unfortunately for us, it’s when our backs are against the wall, that’s almost when we seem to produce our best cricket. We need to find a way to not get so far behind the eight-ball that you need to really scrap it out. But get to 12 ahead, it’s a small win to get them batting again. And certainly, after three days like that, you have to take those small wins,” he added/
Next up for Ireland will be playing in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers to be held from June 18-July 9 in Zimbabwe, with the finalists to book their spots for the main event to be held in India in October-November.
Ireland are in Group B alongside 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka, Scotland, Oman and United Arab Emirates. Balbirnie & Co have warm-up matches against USA and Netherlands on June 13 and 15 respectively, before playing in their Group-stage matches from June 19-27.
(Inputs From IANS)