The Englishman Jack Leach said he could not really believe it after collecting 92 points on Thursday, July 25, as a night watchman at the Lord’s four-day test against Ireland.
In the final stages of the first day, Leach, No. 11 in the first innings, was sent along with regular opener Rory Burns to ensure a lonely survival. The 28-year-old, however, stayed up to keep the Irish bowlers in check the next day and helped lift 60 balls until the midday meal was called.
“I can not really believe it, I just went out to pick up some balls and make it easier for the boys, it probably went a bit further than I thought.”
With his highest score in the first class of 66 and the best score of 9 for Somerset this season, Leach brought no glowing credentials. However, he stood in the middle and helped reverse some of the disgrace England had suffered in the first innings when they were bundled up for 85.
Leach closed a second wicket partnership of 145 with Jason Roy when England fixes the first innings deficit and is tantalizingly close to becoming the first Englishman to serve as a night watchman for a century.
“It was fun to be out there,” he said. “It was great to beat Roy, he gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to just play the way I wanted, we had a nice partnership and that was nice, I think we have a good chance.” Game – that’s what we wanted from today. “
After slashing 162 deliveries and temporarily rearing his fortune, Leach’s patience eased as he undercut a Tim Murtagh delivery to Mark Adair on the second slip-up. “It’s harder to do that in the ’90s, and I now know that the nervous’ 90s are definitely one thing,” he said. “I had some weird thoughts, I was tired too – I had cramps – but still tried to bring them back to the next ball.
“I’ve advised myself not to think about it – which made me think, I’ll learn from it if I get the chance again.”
Despite the fact that Ireland are lagging behind England, Leach said the pressure would now weigh on Ireland as it was contesting its third test. “I think Ireland is under pressure,” he said. “It’s the first time they have experienced being probably favorites to win the game, we do not have to hide from it, but we think we have a great chance.”