England are in negotiations to play Ireland in a Test match at Lord’s next summer, the ECB has confirmed.
The match – which would be the first ever between England and Ireland – would be a four-day encounter, according to a report from the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, played between the final of the 50-over World Cup and the first Ashes Test against Australia next July.
While the dates of the 2019 Ashes have yet to be revealed, there’s expected to be a gap of less than two weeks between the World Cup final on July 14 and the opening Ashes match, with a game against the Irish to give Joe Root’s team a chance to refamiliarise themselves with red-ball cricket.
Cricket Ireland confirmed they were hopeful a game against England would be played in 2019.
"We are in discussions with a whole range of countries," the governing body told RTÉ Sport.
"It's part of the Future Tours programme, an initiative that deals with the next four-year programme for Tests and one-day games.
"That (schedule) will be announced in the next two weeks by the International Cricket Council. We are hoping we can play (the 11 full) members over the four-year period."
Ireland, who were granted Test status by the International Cricket Council last year, played their first match against Pakistan last month, suffering a valiant five-wicket defeat.
Pakistan went on to record a nine-wicket victory over England in the opening Test at Lord’s, with both captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur attributing the result to their thorough preparation and the contest provided by Ireland.
"The Malahide game was a very tough game for us. Ireland played really well. That is good practice before a Lord's Test match,” Sarfraz said.
That match was a five-day encounter. The ICC approved four-day Test matches last year, with South Africa and Zimbabwe taking part in a shortened match – which required 98 overs to be bowled per day instead of 90 in a traditional five-day game – on Boxing Day.
Ireland were one of two countries awarded Test status last year, alongside Afghanistan – who will play their first match against India in Bengaluru this month.