England 152 for 1 (Duckett 60*, Crawley 56) trail Ireland 172 (Broad 5-51) by 20 runs
Pointless is a TV quiz show in which contestants must guess the most obscure answer to each question, an answer that's right but which no member of the public surveyed by the show has thought of. But it was Stuart Broad who provided the most obvious solution of all amid the murmurings that there was little point to this Test - as evidenced by Ireland's undeniable focus on World Cup qualification and England's understandable caution with their thinning seam-bowling stocks and eagerness to experiment in that department.
It would be impossible to argue to Broad that a third five-wicket haul at Lord's - his first at this ground in a decade - carries zero meaning, just as it would be to tell England that any kind of rehearsal for their upcoming Ashes campaign is pointless. In the same way, it would be futile to tell Ireland that if they are to boost their Test experience - still only seven matches old - that there's no point turning up. The international season has to start somewhere, so it might as well be here and now, right?
Broad's 5 for 51 restricted Ireland to 172 after they were sent in to bat under overcast skies by a side that loves to chase. The total fell short of Ireland's first innings the last time these sides met at Lord's, four summers ago, when they then bowled England out for 85 in their reply before capitulating for just 38 in the fourth innings and the hosts won by 143 runs.
By stumps on the opening day, after the cloud cover had given way to baking sunshine by lunchtime, England had closed the gap to just 20 runs in assertive fashion with nine wickets in hand. Zak Crawley reached fifty off just 39 balls before he perished to a juggled return catch by Fionn Hand, on debut as Ireland's third seamer, Crawley's 11 fours comprising some exquisite cover drives interspersed by some streaky inside edges. Ben Duckett reached his own half-century off 53 balls and remained unbeaten on 60 at the close, joined by Ollie Pope on 29.
Broad took a flurry of three wickets in the space of eight balls to leave Ireland floundering at 19 for 3 early in the morning session and claimed two more, shortly after lunch and early in the evening session, as James McCollum, Curtis Campher and Paul Stirling all made it into the 30s but failed to press on. McCollum was patient, Campher spirited and Stirling enterprising but the task was too big, and arguably made even bigger by the well-publicised absence of Josh Little, their best bowler who is resting after the IPL and before next month's 50-over World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe as well as the European T20 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland a month later.
With his usual new-ball partner James Anderson sitting out to manage his return from a groin problem ahead of the Ashes, Broad opened the bowling with Matthew Potts and while the latter probed impressively, it was Broad broke through with the second ball of his third over, a fuller one which pitched a fraction outside off stump then angled back beautifully as PJ Moor walked across his stumps and was struck halfway up his front pad in line with middle and leg.
Crawley pulled off an excellent dive from second slip to snaffle Andy Balbirnie's outside edge as the Ireland captain departed for a five-ball duck and Broad claimed his second. Harry Tector followed two balls later, advancing to Broad and tucking the ball straight to Potts at leg slip.
Broad thought he had a fourth wicket immediately, as did umpire Paul Wilson, when he struck Stirling flush on the front pad as he played across the line, but Stirling survived on review when ball-tracking showed it to be missing leg stump by a whisker.
Debutant Josh Tongue, the Worcestershire seamer originally drafted as injury cover for Anderson and Ollie Robinson, who is also being kept on ice after hurting his ankle playing for Sussex, replaced Broad from the Pavilion End in the 11th over and tested McCollum immediately, sending down twin maidens to begin with. He conceded 40 runs off 13 wicketless overs but he bowled excellent line and length while finding extra bounce and carry.
McCollum survived an England review for caught behind off a Tongue short ball which beat his inside edge, nipped back sharply and just evaded the bat as it sailed over the stumps, brushing his thigh pad instead. By lunch, he had faced 93 deliveries for his 29 not out, whereas Stirling reached 30 off 35 balls, including back-to-back fours off Tongue among his five boundaries, before he shaped to sweep Jack Leach and the ball looped off his glove to a waiting Jonny Bairstow, back behind the stumps after nine months out of international cricket with a broken leg.
Broad struck again in the fifth over after lunch as McCollum edged to Joe Root at slip and he bowled Mark Adair with an excellent inswinger that clipped the top of off stump as Ireland lurched to 169 for 8 shortly after tea.
Campher fell advancing on Leach and missing as the ball rattled his stumps to give the England spinner his third and Potts claimed his second wicket, having broken a 38-run stand between Campher and Andy McBrine, when he had Hand caught behind to wrap up the innings.