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Match Analysis

Lorcan Tucker thinks on his feet in first red-ball foray

The wicketkeeper-batter scores his maiden Test hundred at a venue where he had impressed Rahul Dravid in 2016

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Lorcan Tucker celebrates his hundred  •  BCB

Lorcan Tucker celebrates his hundred  •  BCB

In his first match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium seven years ago, Lorcan Tucker caught Rahul Dravid's attention. He made 57 in a losing cause against India at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. Quite impressed, Dravid asked around who the kid was, and why he wasn't already playing for Ireland's senior team. Tucker would make his international debut later that year, but his international career, like most of his current Ireland team-mates, was only white-ball cricket.
Tucker had played a combined 87 ODIs and T20Is before the Dhaka Test. He is part of the Ireland generation who is mainly focused on white-ball cricket. Tucker played the last of his 14 first-class matches two years ago. But on Thursday, when Ireland really needed their middle order to stand up, he became the country's second centurion after Kevin O'Brien, and the sixth wicketkeeper overall to do so on debut.
"It was a brilliant day," Tucker said. "It was our first Test in Bangladesh. I didn't think it would happen today but it is special for me and the team. It is obviously pretty special. It wasn't something that I thought would happen today. We were under a lot of pressure. We tried to take it ball-by-ball and bat for as long as we could. It was very special to get a personal reward."
Throughout the innings Tucker was trying to understand how a Test innings works. He figured out that batting out time isn't a bad thing, as opposed to in T20s where one is supposed to go after every ball.
"You are trying to get into a space where you think you can bat for long periods. We are not quite used to the tempo [of Test cricket]. We haven't played that much multi-day cricket. So just trying to slow down, and not be afraid of dot balls, a maiden or a series of maidens in a row. Just trying to get into the mindset of things happening slowly. I know the temperature is hot but to get into that mindset, you have to forget about the weather.
"We were recognising there were different tempos in the innings. You can go up and down in gears. It is not like T20s where you are always trying to go as fast as you can. I think last night was a great example of a period where all you had to do was get through. The runs didn't matter."
There were times, however, when the T20 player in Tucker came to the fore. He charged at the spinners from time to time, and even went after the fast bowlers. His charging flicks and pulls off Khaled Ahmed and Ebadot Hossain stood out. In fact, Tucker scored at a strike rate of 100 against the fast bowlers.
Against spin, he took his time, facing 81 dots and scoring at 52.21. But he never allowed Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz to settle down.
"Bangladeshi spinners are very accurate," he said. "It felt like it was going to be hard to score more than two or three runs an over against them. I thought there was an opportunity to score against the seamers with the field up."
When the moment came for him to reach his century, Tucker drove Taijul expansively through the covers. He said that he isn't an excitable person, but felt that it was an enjoyable day for the team.
"I don't like to be too high or too low. I try to be consistent the whole time with cricket and life. It was a great day, so trying to enjoy for what it is.
"The general consensus among the group is that we really enjoyed the last few days. We are so used to ODIs and T20 cricket, which is so much faster. It is a completely different mindset. The last T20 was excellent as well. Today we came back from a really tough position. We are proud as a team. We have had some tough days on this tour so far."
Tucker comes from a family of cricketers. His father, Barry Tucker, is the president of Dublin's Pembroke Cricket Club. The Tucker senior played for the club back in the day, and his sons Lorcan, Fiachra and Donncha are all from this club. Donncha, a left-arm spinner, is currently touring South Africa with the Ireland Under-19, while Fiachra played alongside Lorcan at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup.
Tucker was always regarded as a talented cricketer but he had never scored a hundred at international level. On Thursday, he changed that, against a strong spin attack after coming in at 51 for 5. And at a venue where his talent was first spotted all those years ago.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84