England vs Ireland live: Duckett and Pope’s monster partnership broken

By Nick Hoult, at Lord’s

Ben Duckett will never have an easier chance to make a double hundred in Test cricket but does it tell us anything? This is such a one-sided match, that it is becoming pretty irrelevant for the first Ashes Test. At least it is time in the middle.

In fairness, Duckett is taking his chance, unlike Crawley who made 56 and gave it away on Thursday evening. The McCullum era has revitalised Duckett’s career. He was left on the naughty step for too long by the previous regime because of a perceived lack of professionalism and a failure to knuckle down. 

This management could not care less about what has happened in the past and Duckett, on his part, has matured too. He is not as easily led, has settled down off the field and is a phlegmatic character who seems to accept success and failure with the same attitude. 

He thought his Test career was over so is determined to make the most of this opportunity. He admitted he left runs out on the field when he played in Pakistan despite a hundred so is being greedy here. He has a much better first-class record than Crawley (an average of 42) and is tighter defensively. 

Ireland have given him too much width and Australia, with more pace, will threaten the outside edge and bring gully, slips into play. That will be his challenge. At least he will have some confidence now, but not much more of an idea of what is waiting for him.

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