WILLIAM PORTERFIELD struck a superb 108 to steer Ireland to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh yesterday in the first of back-to-back RSA Series matches at Stormont in Belfast.
A typically disciplined Irish performance with the ball restricted Bangladesh to 234-9 -- a 50-over total that owed much to a determined century by Junaed Siddique.
Porterfield and Paul Stirling replied strongly with an opening partnership of 118 at exactly a run a ball and when the Middlesex youngster was bowled for 52, his captain sailed on to become the first Irishman to score eight international centuries.
The Gloucestershire left-hander had smashed three sixes and seven fours when he mis-timed a shot to mid-wicket and departed with just 27 needed to win.
If Ireland can hand out a similar walloping to their Test match-playing opponents in today's second game then cricket's world governing body will have no excuse for not granting them enhanced status.
Ireland dismissed a team that had beaten England earlier this month with ease.
Perhaps Porterfield was fortunate to win the toss and bowl as the Civil Service ground recovered from Wednesday's rain, but with Trent Johnston and Boyd Rankin reducing Bangladesh to 28-3 in the sixth over, Ireland quickly established a stranglehold. Siddique and Shakib Al Hasan fought back before Stirling had Shakib caught in the deep for 50.
Gary Wilson took the best of his three catches to give Stirling a second wicket, and Rankin's pace and bounce were too much for the tail, earning him figures of 3-43.
As against Australia last month, the Irish opening batsmen flew out of the traps. By the time Stirling was bowled, the game was as good as won and Alex Cusack compiled a watchful 45 not out to make certain of victory.
Meanwhile, Simon Katich hit 83 and Ben Hilfenhaus hit his maiden Test half-century at Lord's as Australia set Pakistan a fourth-innings target of 440. It would require a record effort for Pakistan to win. They reached 114-1 by the end of day three.