Tuesday 28 February 2017

Dockrell mops up to put Ireland back to top

Craig Young claimed two wickets in an over to give Ireland an early boost Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Craig Young claimed two wickets in an over to give Ireland an early boost Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

George Dockrell stuck to his task on a tough day in Belfast and was rewarded with three late wickets as Ireland grabbed a first innings lead of 79 runs against Hong Kong to ensure the defending champions will move back to the top of the InterContinental Cup table.

Craig Young claimed two wickets in an over to give Ireland an early boost, and fellow quick bowler Peter Chase took three wickets in the middle order, but it was left-arm spinner Dockrell who kept a rein on Hong Kong and mopped up the tail as the stubborn visitors were bowled out for 237.

Six points for a first-innings lead ensures Ireland will be at least five clear of rivals Afghanistan when the two best teams below Test level meet in India early next year but the home side will be confident of a maximum 20 points for an outright win after dominating the first two days.

"I thought they batted really well and made it hard work for us," Dockrell said.

"What we did was to contain them so that when the wickets did come they were still well behind us, and we're pretty happy with that size of lead.

"There isn't a massive amount of movement for the seamers but we controlled the game. All the bowlers contributed, we combined well and chipped away at them through the day."

Ireland will aim to bat long into the third day, perhaps with a little more patience than they showed in making 316 in the first innings, before setting Hong Kong a victory target of around 350 or, more realistically, 100 overs to survive for a draw.

Irish Independent

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