Dominant Joyce smashes Irish record
Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30
Ed Joyce made 229 not out - the highest individual score by an Ireland batsman - as he dominated the opening day of the InterContinental Cup clash against the United Arab Emirates at Malahide.
The 36-year-old left-hander sailed past Eoin Morgan's previous Irish best of 209 against the same opposition in 2007 and was threatening to add to his 29 fours and three sixes today as Ireland closed on an imposing 420-3.
Joyce is desperate to end his career with a Test cap or two for Ireland, after being denied his chance at the highest level with England, so this IC Cup campaign with its prize for the winner of a 'Test Challenge' is make or break for the Bray native.
It was not his best innings, with chances going down on 64, 78, 136 and 159 - two of them dollies - but allied to a fine century from Paul Stirling it warmed the few diehard fans in attendance and should be enough to deliver maximum points in the first of seven IC Cup matches.
After negotiating a tricky first session for the loss of skipper William Porterfield, Joyce and Stirling added 231 for the second wicket, and the Emiratis, who only have one player in their line-up under 30, began to flag.
Stirling, who has been in superb form for Middlesex, was the first to his century but just when it looked as though he might overtake Morgan's mark, he fell for 146 from 197 balls, with 17 fours and three sixes.
Niall O'Brien made a scratchy 13 from 67 balls and was very much the junior partner in a third-wicket stand of 85 as Joyce found overdrive.
The boundary that took Joyce past Morgan also delivered his highest first-class score, beating the 211 he made for Middlesex against Warwickshire. His previous Irish best was 155, again against the UAE, and it's not fanciful to suggest he might double that before Ireland declare.