It was devastating spell of bowling from the pace duo of Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad in perfect bolwing conditions as England bundled our Ireland for 38 runs to win Lords Test within three days by 143 runs.
Ireland, playing their third Test, were set a target of 182 for a famous win. In the damp and gloom and with the floodlights on at Lord’s, Woakes swung the ball for 6-17 and Broad nipped it around for 4-19.
At one stage, three wickets fell for no runs and the last nine for 18 as Ireland registered the seventh lowest total in Test history and the lowest at Lord’s.
Woakes and Broad bowled unchanged through an innings that took only 94 deliveries, the joint-second shortest in Test history and shortest for 95 years.
From England’s perspective, it was a bowling performance that masked the deficiencies of their batsmen, who collapsed in each innings and were reliant on 92 from nightwatchman Jack Leach on Thursday.
Indeed, their first-innings total of 85 was the lowest to win a Test for 112 years.
With the Ashes against Australia less than a week away, England have done little to allay concerns over their top order, while their fast-bowling picture is increasingly crowded.
England’s squad for the first Ashes Test will be named at 11:00 BST on Saturday.
This has been an extraordinary Test, packed almost as full of incident and discussion points as England’s glorious World Cup final triumph on the same ground 12 days ago.
In the end, England avoided the ignominy of defeat to the Test novices, but have answered few of their Ashes questions.
One positive is the 72 made by Jason Roy on debut, but his partner Rory Burns was scratchy and number three Joe Denly spent little time in the middle. Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali look woefully out of touch.
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, rested for this game, will return but Leach, England’s top-scorer, was in the side for his left-arm spin and is unlikely to play at Edgbaston on Thursday.
If England are short of batting options, then they have riches of pace bowlers. Woakes and Broad pushed their claim for inclusion against Australia, while Sam Curran and debutant Olly Stone bowled nicely in the first innings.
With James Anderson and Jofra Archer set to return from injuries, England have six options for three pace-bowling places.