Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red-Hot Leach Drags England Back - but Dad Stays at Home; THE MATCH: England V Ireland Day 2, Lord's

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red-Hot Leach Drags England Back - but Dad Stays at Home; THE MATCH: England V Ireland Day 2, Lord's

Article excerpt

JACK Leach has revealed how his own father passed up the chance to watch his career-best innings in England's thrilling Specsavers Test against Ireland in person, after being scared off by the soaring temperatures.

The United Kingdom experienced its hottest ever July day on Thursday and that was enough for Simon Leach to swap his Lord's ticket for a marathon session in front of the television, watching his son lift England off the ropes with the knock of a lifetime.

The left-hander made 92 after resuming as an unfancied nightwatchman, making a mockery of a first-class record that contained just two prior half-centuries in 108 attempts and an average just under 11.

By the end of day two England were deeply indebted to the Somerset spinner's endeavours, sitting on a 181-run lead and a second-innings score of 303 for nine.

Leach said of his dad's absence: "He was going to come but he saw the weather forecast and said it was too hot.

"I don't think it would have been a good place for him to be today, he could have died! I think it was best he stayed at home in the cool.

"I gave him my house key and he went over so he's literally been at mine watching the whole time. I'll catch up with him later on."

Leach's stand of 145 with debutant Jason Roy (72) was easily the best of the match to date and he came close to becoming England's first nightwatchman centurion.

In the end he nicked Tim Murtagh to second slip as Ireland's venerable seam attack hauled the game back into the balance by claiming seven for 77 in a superb passage of play, falling eight short of the landmark achievement.

"I know now that the nervous 90s are definitely a thing," he confessed.

"You think 'I'm only two shots away' and I was having some weird thoughts. I was trying to tell myself not to think about it which kind of made me think about it.

"I can't believe it really. …

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