England v Ireland: Lord's Test the latest step in 'ambitious plan' for Irish cricket

Ireland's Tim Murtagh touches down his bat in time to stay in against England
England beat Ireland by four wickets in the most recent one-day international between the two sides

Ireland's Test match against England at Lord's is another significant step in the 'ambitious plan' to grow the sport, says team captain William Porterfield.

Ireland will face England in a four-day Test from 24-27 July.

It will be Ireland's third Test since gaining full-member status in June 2017 - a decade after their famous 2007 World Cup win over Pakistan.

"What's happened over the past 10 years has led up to what should be a special occasion at Lord's," said Porterfield.

The veteran opener, 34, made his Ireland debut in 2006 and, along with all-rounder Kevin O'Brien, was part of the Ireland team that shocked the former World Champions in Jamaica.

That victory in Kingston helped to pave the way for Ireland's elevation to full-member level by the ICC, which led to a historic first Test against Pakistan.

In 2012, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom pledged to secure Test status by 2020 but the success of the national team convinced the ICC to fast-track the process.

"It was a really ambitious plan but you have to set those plans in place and be really ambitious and put the work in," Porterfield acknowledged.

"Hopefully we're going to start reaping the rewards now and the generations to come within cricket in Ireland, there's going to be massive opportunities in front of them to perform on the big stage."

A first Test win at the home of cricket

The five-wicket defeat by Pakistan meant that Ireland became the ninth team to lose on their Test debut.

Porterfield's side also lost to fellow newcomers Afghanistan in their second Test appearance, meaning that their visit to Lord's will be another opportunity to secure a first victory in the longest format of the game.

The recent one-day international between the two sides at Malahide finished in a scrappy victory for England but the result has given Ireland all-rounder Mark Adair cause for optimism.

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'It's going to be a special occasion' - Porterfield looks ahead to Lord's Test

"We pushed England pretty close in the one-day game and it is something we'll continue to work on," said Adair.

"Obviously we haven't played a lot of red-ball cricket but they'll be coming out of a World Cup and haven't had a lot of time to focus and they've got a big summer coming up so I think it's a perfect opportunity for us to have a go.

"If we can do well there, then it opens up a huge number of opportunities for us."

Adair is one of the exciting young players starting to break into the Ireland team and the 23-year-old is one of four players who could make his Test debut at Lord's along with Lorcan Tucker, Simi Singh and Craig Young.

The Northern Knights player added: "Some of the guys have been going at this since 2007 and it is testament to the players who have gone before me and it's now up to us to continue to improve and to help Irish cricket to continue to grow."

England Test a 'special occasion'

Porterfield, who has made almost 200 international appearances, top scored for Ireland in their last one-day match at Lord's in 2017 but he accepts that the four-day match will be a very different experience.

"You've got to take the opportunity to soak it in," said the former Warwickshire opener.

"There will be times throughout the game when you can actually take a step back and say 'this is actually happening and this is a pretty special occasion' and you don't want to let that slip by.

Ireland all-rounder Mark Adair
Mark Adair made his Ireland debut against England in May

"We mentioned before the Pakistan game that we had to enjoy the occasion and take it in because if you didn't and you were looking back in a few years time I think you'd regret it.

"There are some touring teams that go to England and don't get the opportunity to play at Lord's, we're blessed with that, so you've got to take that on board.

"It might be the only game that some of us get the opportunity to play a Test match at Lord's so if you go there and don't have the mindset to enjoy it as well as playing in it then I think you might be missing a trick."

Ireland squad: W Porterfield (c), M Adair, A Balbirnie, A McBrine, J McCollum, T Murtagh, K O'Brien, B Rankin, S Singh, P Stirling, S Thompson, L Tucker, G Wilson, C Young.