JACK Leach fell eight runs short of a maiden Test century after a fantastic knock against Ireland at Lord's.

Leach, who opened the batting as night-watchman to see out the final over on day one, was on 92 when he was caught at second slip just as a fairytale ton looked on the cards.

Leach, who had opened the innings as nightwatchman late on the first day, began on the second morning with intent and reached his half century from his 82nd ball,  becoming. 

He went on to help England establish a first innings lead during a 145-run stand with Jason Roy and, when Leach was dropped for a second time, his place on the honours board felt like it was written in the stars.

Just two balls after that second drop, however, Leach guided Tim Murtagh to the same fielder, Mark Adair, who this time held on at second slip.

It would have been Leach's first century in any form of cricket since he made 123 for Somerset's Second XI against Nottinghamshire at the County Ground in 2015 - he also has scores of 96 and 99 for his club side, Taunton Deane.

It is, however, Leach's new best First Class score, beating his 66 for Somerset at Lancashire last season - click here for a full scorecard.

It marks quite a change in form for Leach, who has scored just 42 runs at 4.67 in 12 County Championship innings for Somerset this season.

England's all-time leading Test run scorer Alastair Cook said on the BBC's Test Match Special: "It's amazing how what position you bat in determines how you play.

"Leach is opening so he plays like an opener. When he bats at number 11, he looks like a number 11!"

Describing one of Leach's shots, former Somerset spinner Vic Marks said: "It was a thumping cover drive. If you close your eyes but not quite tight, you can see a bit of Trescothick in Leach."