England likely to play Ireland in a four-day Test match next year
England have 11 days to prepare for the Ashes after the conclusion of World Cup 2019.
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England will most likely play their maiden Test against Ireland in July next year at Lord’s. The match is expected to be their first-ever four-day Test since 1971 and the only first-class game they play ahead of Ashes 2019. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will host the World Cup 2019 and then the Ashes after just 11 days.
For the players who feature in the World Cup, the last first-class match that they play will be five months before the Ashes. Thus the four-day Test against Ireland becomes an important fixture. This will be only quality practice for the boys and ECB is also keen on experimenting with the shorter Test match to see the crowd response and revenue.
The Telegraph in an exclusive report stated that the exact date of the match is yet to be finalized, however, it suggests that the match will be played from July 18-21 i.e. Thursday to Sunday. As far as the starting time is concerned the game would get underway half an hour early at 10:30 am.
This will be the second four-day Test after the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved South Africa’s Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe to be a shorter affair which was the first such occasion since 1973.
The ICC had issued revised playing conditions for the four-day Tests and there are 98 overs played in a day and not 90 the number of overs bowled every day in a conventional Test. There is a provision for follow-on as well and a team can enforce follow-on if they have a first innings lead of 150 runs, which is 200 in the 5-day Test.
Ireland very recently made their Test debut against Pakistan in a rain-hit yet exciting match. They played some really good cricket and a five-wicket win was not at all easy for the visitors. The four-day England-Ireland Test match is also expected to attract a lot of Irish fans to Lord’s and thus make it a profitable affair for the board.