Friday 23 February 2018

Cricket: White and Mooney put Ireland in control

David Townsend

ANDREW WHITE and John Mooney both hit centuries at Rathmines yesterday to put Ireland on course for what should be a comfortable victory over the Netherlands in the InterContinental Cup.

White was the senior partner in a sixth-wicket stand of 221 that rescued the hosts from a precarious 153-5, but it was Mooney's maiden century for his country that warmed the crowd on a chilly day as Ireland battled to 408 all out.

A first-innings lead of 220 then took on mammoth proportions as captain Trent Johnston ripped through the early Dutch batting to leave the visitors on a parlous 71-4 at the close of the second day of four.

A much closer contest had looked likely when overnight batsmen Kevin O'Brien and Alex Cusack departed in the first half-hour -- O'Brien toe- ending to mid-wicket and Cusack bowled playing across the line.

When Gary Wilson was lbw for 21, Ireland were 153-5 and still not sure of first-innings lead -- and the valuable bonus-points that entails -- but White and Mooney calmed nerves, gained the advantage and then took a weary Dutch attack apart after lunch.

Mooney was the more aggressive of the two, despite suffering from a sore throat, and fittingly went to his century with a trademark off-drive -- one of 15 boundaries he struck before being bowled by Mohammad Kashif for 107.

Kashif also trapped White lbw for 144 -- the North Down man's fourth century for Ireland contained a six and 20 fours -- and the little spinner then wrapped up the tail to return impressive figures of 5-53.

A pumped up Johnston (3-23) and debutant Allan Eastwood (1-24) then blew away the Dutch top order, with the visitors losing four wickets in the first 10 overs, slumping to 38-4 before recovering to 71-4 .

Ireland will be confident of a maximum-points win today, but hopes of appearing in a fourth successive IC Cup final were fading last night as Scotland tottered towards a heavy defeat to Afghanistan in Ayr.

Irish Independent

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