Ollie Pope earned a double century after Ben Duckett compiled the fastest 150 in a test at Lord’s as England went up against an outclassed Ireland in their Ashes warm-up on Friday. Pope’s 205 and Duckett’s 182 were the cornerstones of England’s imposing 524-4 declared on the second day of four, a lead of 331 runs. The pair shared a second wicket stand of 252 after coming together at 109-1 following the departure of Zak Crawley for 56. Both Duckett and Pope scored a hundred runs in a session on Friday, left-hander Duckett achieved the feat in the morning’s game and Pope matches him between lunch and tea.
This was the fastest double century by a batsman on English soil. The record previously belonged to Ian Botham who scored the double barrel in 220 balls against India at the Oval. Pope reached the milestone in 207 deliveries.
And Duckett, by making a run-a-ball 150, surpassed the great Don Bradman’s Australian record of 166 balls for the fastest Test 150 at Lord’s, in what was also the first Test of the English opener on home soil.
Both Duckett and Pope themselves topped Ireland’s first innings with 172.
But an Irish side in just their seventh Test and still looking for a maiden win at this level lacked the pace and cunning to snag well-placed batsmen on a good pitch, with sailors Mark Adair and debutant Fionn Hand both conceded more than 100 runs. .
Joe Root helped himself to 55 as he became just the 11th batsman in total, and the second Englishman after Alastair Cook, to score 11,000 Test runs before giving his wicket away.
Pope, 197 not out at tea, went to a first Test double century in style by going ahead to drive off-spinner Andy McBrine for a third six in just 207 balls faced.
But the next delivery saw an attacking Pope comfortably stumped, with England captain Ben Stokes then declaring.
England had resumed just 20 points behind, after veteran Stuart Broad’s 5-51 on Thursday.
Duckett was then 60 not out, with England vice-captain Pope unbeaten at 29.
It wasn’t long before England improved Ireland’s aggregate and a morning run where they didn’t lose a wicket took them to 325-1 at kunch.
Duckett then beat spinner McBrine for the first six of the match to go to 176 as he single-handedly surpassed Ireland’s total.
The 28-year-old was approaching what would have been one of Test cricket’s fastest doubles when a replacement ball did the trick for Ireland, with Duckett playing on medium pacer Graham Hume.
His runs came from just 178 balls, including 24 fours and a six, with Duckett walking off to a standing ovation from a sun-drenched crowd at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
There was no rest for Ireland, with star batsman Root unrolling a wide range of strokes in what at times looked more like a net session than a test match.
Both Pope and Root lofted McBrine for sixes in the same over.
And the 25-year-old Pope went to 150 in style with an off-driven four from Curtis Campher.
The first Ashes Test in Edgbaston starts on June 16, but before then Australia will face India in the final of the World Test Championship at the Oval next week.
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