England pacer Josh Tongue kicked off his international career with a five-for against Ireland in a one-off Test on Saturday, June 3. After a wicket-less spell in the first innings, the Worcestershire seamer returned with five for 66 to end Ireland's resistance in the second innings at Lord's on Day 3.
Tongue's spell impressed the England management, especially captain Ben Stokes, who was full of praise for the youngster after England's 10-wicket win. Stokes, who didn't bowl against Ireland and didn't get a chance to bat as well, revealed that Tongue's versatility to bowl different types of spells impressed him most.
"He must think I'm a pretty good bloke giving him his Test debut. I told him the role that I saw him playing in this team as our third seamer, and used him in a way to get different types of spells out of one bowler," Stokes said after the match.
"His first spell, he came on and bowled really well pitching the ball up. Then we looked to use his pace to use him as the aggressor when we needed to and the wicket got a bit flat. For him to show he's more than one type of bowler does us the world of good as a team going forward, knowing we've found someone else who can fulfill the role of the guys with the extra pace."
Tongue is also included in England's squad for the first two matches in the upcoming Ashes. England are sweating on James Anderson and Ollie Robinson's fitness as both the veterans missed the Ireland Test. But the Ashes hosts have a wealth of options in the form of Mark Wood, Matthew Potts, and Chris Woakes to partner Stuart Broad in the pace attack for the first Test in Edgbaston.
Meanwhile, Stokes also hinted at a potential Ashes spot for Tongue, who he thinks passed every plan against Ireland. "Bowling the long spell yesterday and two long spells today, I wasn't quite sure of how to manage him so early on," said Stokes. "But I was very, very impressed with the way he just said yes to the plans I wanted him to operate under."