Nightwatchman Leach falls just short of maiden century
England's second-innings fightback came from an unlikely source as nightwatchman Jack Leach made 92 on day two of their Ashes warm-up Test against Ireland.
Having steadied the ship alongside Jason Roy (72) in the morning session, Leach - who became just the second man, after Harry Butt, in Test history to bat at number 11 and open on the same day on Wednesday - looked set to be making more history at Lord's as he edged towards a maiden century.
Somerset's Leach had made only two half-centuries at first-class level heading into this Test, averaging 10.97 across his career, with 66 against Lancashire in 2018 being his highest score.
After withstanding an early onslaught, the 28-year-old settled in sweltering conditions, and showed his quality with five boundaries from nine deliveries, including three in four off Boyd Rankin, with a thick edge down to third man bringing up his 50.
It was fair from plain sailing for Leach, who was dropped by wicketkeeper Gary Wilson on 72 and was handed another reprieve when, after surpassing England's dismal first-innings haul of 85 with a sublime cover drive to take him onto 89 - his last of 16 boundaries - Mark Adair fumbled a catch at second slip.
But his fairytale stand finally came to an end three deliveries later - Adair holding on as Leach nicked Tim Murtagh's delivery in a carbon copy of the previous dropped chance - with England leading by 60 at the time.