Cricket: Porterfield to lead international XI against England
IRELAND captain William Porterfield has been given the honour of leading an International Cricket Council XI in a three-day match against England in Dubai next month.
The warm-up game ahead of England's series against Pakistan is a unique opportunity for the best players from the non-Test playing countries to take on the No 1 team in the long form of the game.
Porterfield, one of the most impressive captains at this year's World Cup, is one of four Ireland players in a 12-man squad chosen from the ICC Associate and Affiliate teams -- Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling and young Leinster spinner George Dockrell are the others.
"If you look through the England squad it's full of world- class cricketers and it will be a great test for us," Porterfield said.
"Another challenge we face is coming together as a group. We've played against each other a few times but we will have to gel pretty quickly in order to put in a good performance."
Meanwhile, Rankin will join the England 'A' Lions tour to Bangladesh, following the Dubai game.
The big Warwickshire fast bowler's call-up will not effect his availability for Ireland.
Meanwhile, on the international front, AB de Villiers agonisingly fell for 99 on Day 2 of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Centurion yesterday, but his efforts helped ensure a huge first-innings lead for the hosts.
At stumps the Proteas were 209 ahead on 389-9, with Mark Boucher 49 not out at the close as he and last man Imran Tahir (24 not out) refused to surrender their frustrating last-wicket stand.
Sri Lanka managed to get rid of dangermen Hashim Amla (18) and Jacques Kallis (31) relatively cheaply but South Africa's batting proved too deep.
De Villiers' fine innings was worthy of a 13th Test hundred but he ended one short when he was caught on the cut against three-wicket Thisara Perera.