Thursday 22 February 2018

Cricket: Sorensen gives Aussies a scare

MAX SORENSEN took four wickets for Ireland in Belfast as the lack of depth in Australian batting reserves was exposed in the early exchanges of a four-day match at Stormont.

The Hills pace bowler hit the stumps twice in a lively opening spell and returned to take two wickets in an over after lunch before an unbeaten century by Steve Smith helped Australia A recover to 248-6.

Veteran Trent Johnston also found success removing opener Alex Doolan for 40 and then bowling his former New South Wales colleague Brad Haddin for two to deny the wicketkeeper time at the crease before next month's first Ashes Test against England.

The scoreboard showed 65-4 as Haddin, the Australia A captain, trudged off and had only advanced to 139-6 when Peter Siddle, another probable starter in the Ashes series, was caught in the gully by John Mooney off Sorensen for a duck.

With Sorensen boasting figures of 4-44 and Johnston 2-50, the under-strength Ireland side were cock-a-hoop but a partnership of 109 between Smith and James Pattinson steered Australia to safety before rain brought an early close. Smith's 104 not out contained a six and 14 fours.

During the lunch interval, Aussie legend Rod Marsh assisted in the quarter-final draw for the RSA Irish Senior Cup and handed Sorensen a return to Stormont on July 7 by drawing The Hills away to Civil Service NI. Johnston's club YMCA will host North County in the only all-Leinster clash while Merrion travel north to Waringstown and Clontarf are away to Fox Lodge.

The pick of the quarter-final ties in the RSA National Cup sees Malahide at home to County Galway.

The Leinster Senior Cup quarter-finals go ahead today without the Ireland internationals. In Balrothery North County host YMCA.

Meanwhile, Essex were bowled out for only 20 as Lancashire won by an innings and 105 runs at Chelmsford.

PROTEAS INTO SEMI-FINALS AFTER WEST INDIES DRAW

South Africa scraped into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy as a dramatic finish saw their Group B clash with West Indies end in a tie under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

After rain had reduced the game to 31 overs a side in Cardiff, 73 off 63 balls from Colin Ingram and scores of 38 from David Miller and 37 from captain AB de Villiers helped the Proteas to 230 for six.

Power hitting from Marlon Samuels (48) and Kieron Pollard (28) had put West Indies on course to pull off the run chase but when Pollard was dismissed just before rain stopped play, the Windies went level on 190-6.

It is the Proteas who go through due to a better net run-rate.

Top seed Andy Murray continued his fine form at the AEGON Championships as he eased into the semi-finals with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Benjamin Becker at Queen's.

Irish Independent

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