Cricket: Aussies get real fright
IRELAND could and should have beaten world champions Australia in yesterday's one-day international at Clontarf but instead contrived to lose by 39 runs, WRITES DAVID TOWNSEND.
A capacity crowd at Castle Avenue may have expected one side to grind to 231-9 from 50 overs and their opponents to charge to 80-0 in reply -- but certainly not in the order it happened.
Aussie captain Ricky Ponting was so rattled by the Irish openers that he delayed his second bowling powerplay and was mightily relieved when Paul Stirling was yorked for 36 from as many balls in only the 11th over. When fellow opener William Porterfield was bowled for 39 after Gary Wilson had fallen lbw, the visitors were back in charge -- but not for long.
A careful fourth-wicket stand of 51 between Alex Cusack and Niall O'Brien again wrested the initiative and with only 95 more required from 25 overs it required a debateable lbw decision against Cusack to revive Australia.
James Hopes then took 5-14 and, after an unlikely last-wicket stand of 36, the chase ended in the 42nd over with John Mooney out for 38.
Aussie opener Tim Paine had grafted his way to 81 from 122 balls and there were good contributions from Ponting and Cameron White, but all the Aussie batsmen found fluency difficult on a slow pitch.
Kevin O'Brien took 3-43 -- all catches by brother Niall -- and Wilson produced a smart stumping off Cusack to remove Michael Clarke for a five-ball duck.
"Ireland gave us problems and showed they've got what it takes for the years ahead," Ponting said.
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