Murtagh's haul puts Ireland on brink of victory
Tim Murtagh took four wickets to leave Namibia teetering on the brink of an innings defeat at the Wanderers yesterday as Ireland tightened their grip on maximum points going into the final day of their InterContinental Cup clash.
The home side began their second innings needing 319 to make the visitors bat again and 6.1 overs later had crashed to 12-4 as Murtagh had an lbw appeal upheld and hit the stumps twice, while Craig Young was rewarded with a caught behind from his probing opening spell.
Ireland had to graft for their wickets after that, though, and a succession of stubborn cameos from the lower order helped Namibia reach stumps on 173-7.
Perhaps if Ireland had declared at lunch, with a lead of 270, they would have had enough time to finish the job with a day to spare; instead skipper William Porterfield gave John Mooney the chance to make an unbeaten half-century before calling a halt to the fun on 570-6.
Porterfield, who had himself resumed on 153 not out, batted another hour but missed the chance to emulate Ed Joyce with a double century when he mis-timed a push to extra cover. His career-best 186 contained 21 fours and a six, and is the joint-fifth highest individual score for Ireland.
The skipper also had to deploy his skill in the field when the hardness left the new ball and Namibia wickets became tougher to find, and his clever placement of close fielders on both sides of the pitch brought Murtagh his fourth victim with a chipped catch to mid-wicket.
He also knows that when it comes to seeing off a burger there is no better man in his team than Paul Stirling and so it proved as the burly off-spinner had veteran Sorel Burger caught behind before the last recognised Namibia batsman Gerrie Snyman was lbw to George Dockrell.
A frustrating hour followed but a second win in two IC Cup games should be secured before lunch today and the margin of victory will give Ireland great confidence ahead of their next two games against Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong.