Double delight as Joyce punishes Namibian attack
Ed Joyce took advantage of some woeful Namibia bowling to record his second double century in as many InterContinental Cup innings yesterday and put Ireland well on the way to a maximum-points victory in Windhoek.
Joyce was the senior partner in a stand of 326 with William Porterfield - an Ireland record for the second wicket - and after he holed out at long on for 205, his skipper continued to plunder runs to end the day 153 not out.
So toothless is the Namibia attack that it is more than likely that Porterfield will join Joyce and Eoin Morgan in the exclusive 200 club today, as Ireland look to extend their already imposing 402-3 towards 600 before leaving themselves five sessions to again dismiss the home side.
Joyce's second scoring shot was a six, and he added five more maximums, along with 26 fours, in an innings that spanned 201 balls. Porterfield, happy to play second fiddle, hit 18 boundaries, including a six, and had faced 273 balls when he strode off unbeaten at stumps.
"I wasn't aware we had set a record," Joyce said. "It's a great pitch to bat on and I felt the ball coming out of the middle almost from the start. With the fields they set, we didn't feel under a lot of pressure and were able to score.
"It was good to see the captain back in form. He has been working on a few things, and you could see it coming together for him. A score like that is just what he needed."
The second day of four began perfectly for the visitors when Craig Young ended a frustrating last-wicket stand of 49 with the seventh ball of the morning, to leave Namibia all out for 251. There was a minor scare at the start of the Ireland reply when a bit of extra bounce accounted for Paul Stirling, who was caught behind for 15, and another delivery shot through at shin height in the next over from the same end. Those were isolated incidents, though.
Joyce and Porterfield had Ireland only 13 runs short of parity by tea, and with the first-innings lead points in the bag, attention turned to what records might be broken, with the highest partnership for any wicket - Morgan and Andre Botha's 360 against the UAE in 2007 - in jeopardy.
Joyce was visibly tiring, though, and after throwing the bat to complete his fourth half-century from only 27 balls, he was caught just inside the boundary, still 26 short of his individual Ireland best of 231, made earlier this year against the UAE, at Clontarf.
Cruelly, Niall O'Brien, who had sat with his pads on for five hours watching the record second-wicket partnership of 304 that he set with Jeremy Bray against the UAE on the same Wanderers ground exactly 10 years ago being broken, then fell for a first-ball duck.