Bowlers given perfect platform by record Ireland score in ICC Cup against UAE

Joyce and O’Brien complete centuries in dominant batting display

Ireland opening bowler Tim Murtagh bowls to an attacking field during the  Intercontinental Cup match against UAE in  Sharjah. Photograph: Barry Chambers/ICC/Inpho

Ireland opening bowler Tim Murtagh bowls to an attacking field during the Intercontinental Cup match against UAE in Sharjah. Photograph: Barry Chambers/ICC/Inpho

Thu, Mar 14, 2013, 02:59

Ireland ’s batsmen may have set a new scoring record for the country during day two of the Intercontinental Cup clash against the United Arab Emirates yesterday, but it will need some serious hard work on behalf of the bowlers in they are to claim victory in Sharjah in their opening game of the season.

Ireland’s top five all bathed their feet before skipper William P orterfield declared the innings closed on 589 for seven during the final session, giving his bowlers 24 overs to make inroads into the home batting line-up on a superb batting track.

Tim Murtagh claimed a breakthrough with the final ball of the 10th over, trapping Safdar Niaza in front of his stumps after he had made 16, but Arshad Ali and the veteran Khurram Khan made it through to the close of play, with the score on 56 for one.

Ed Joyce needed just one delivery of the morning session to complete his third century for Ireland and the first since 2005 in the World Cup qualifier against the same opposition in Stormont.

He pushed on to record his highest score at international level, making 155 before being his luck ran out after a straight drive from Niall O’Brien was deflected by Khan on to Joyce’s stumps while he was backing up.

It brought to an end a 181-run stand for the third wicket, but O’Brien would go on to score 126, his seventh international century, in a 126-run stand with Gary Wilson.

Wilson missed out on a landmark score himself, bowled by Khan for 84, before some late hitting from Kevin O’Brien (34 not out) and John Mooney (26) helped Ireland break the previous batting record of 578 for four declared against Kenya in Nairobi back in 2008.

Wilson is confident that Ireland’s bowling attack has the variety and class to push on for victory over the final two days of the game.

“It’s not easy to score if bowlers keep it straight and that’s what we’ll be looking to do tomorrow. We will learn from what they have done. The ball swung for a few overs and it’s started reversing pretty quickly.”