Cricket: Johnston's rapid treble leaves Irish in control
TRENT JOHNSTON took three wickets in four balls in Toronto yesterday to put Ireland in a dominant position in their must-win Intercontinental Cup match against Canada.
Johnston grabbed another two wickets in his second spell and claimed figures of 5-23 as the home side were dismissed for only 120 soon after lunch on the first of scheduled four-day game.
Ireland can afford no slip-ups in their remaining two qualifying matches if they are to reach a fourth successive IC Cup final, and Paul Stirling sped the defending champions towards the all-important first-innings points with a typically robust 45.
Stirling fell lbw after clubbing seven fours and a six but a watchful third-wicket stand of 78 between Andre Botha, returning from injury, and Kevin O'Brien, who made 57, ensured a first-innings lead. Another rapid win looks on the cards as they closed on 190-4, a commanding lead of 70.
Meanwhile, former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan, now a regular in the England Test team, has signed a new two-year contract with county side Middlesex.