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England overwhelmed Ireland by 10 wickets in a one-off Test at Lord's on Saturday that acted as a warm-up game for their upcoming Ashes series against Australia.
Tongue takes his chance
The latest player to vindicate the selection judgement of McCullum and Stokes, fast bowler Josh Tongue marked his Test debut with 5-66 in Ireland's second innings.
Tongue, 25, can bowl in excess of 91 mph, a speed that troubles the very best batsmen.
A late call-up to face Ireland, because of fitness concerns over James Anderson and Ollie Robinson, the Worcestershire quick has now retained his place in the squad for the first two Ashes Tests.
"He was very unlucky in the first innings not to get a wicket but he definitely reaped the rewards and the way he bowled contributed to the five wickets he got in this innings because they (Ireland) were already on the back foot against him, knowing he had that extra bit of pace," said Stokes.
Leach leaks runs
England will look to spinner Jack Leach against Australia, particularly if Stokes, for all his assertions to the contrary, is unfit to bowl.
If Leach can get through a decent number of overs in economical fashion while also taking wickets, it will enable Stokes to rotate his quicks and spare them long, energy-sapping, spells.
In that context even Stokes -- long one of the Somerset left-armer's strongest supporters -- might have been concerned to see how tailenders Andy McBrine and Mark Adair took to Leach's bowling during their Ireland-record partnership of 163 on Saturday.
Leach's figures of 1-90 in 20 overs will certainly not have escaped Australia's attention.
Promising signs for Ireland
Ireland's seventh Test ended with them still searching for a first win at this level.
But a team with minimal first-class experience could take heart from the way they avoided an innings defeat -- a result that looked likely when Ireland resumed Saturday 255 runs adrift at 97-3.
Adair (88) and McBrine (86 not out) batted in the Bazball style that England have made their own, with the only sadness for Ireland that neither man made a coveted Test century at the 'Home of Cricket'.
"We showed glimpses today and can be proud of that," said Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie.