Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mooney turns up heat to inspire Ireland recovery

Ireland's John Mooney
Ireland's John Mooney

David Townsend

JOHN MOONEY claimed his first five-wicket haul and Ed Joyce followed up with 74 not out as Ireland turned the tables on rivals Afghanistan on the second day of the InterContinental Cup final.

A mighty effort with the ball -- led by Mooney, George Dockrell and Trent Johnston -- saw the three-times champions dismiss Afghanistan for 182 and gain a first-innings lead of five runs in the five-day contest at the ICC Global Cricket Academy.

Joyce and Niall O'Brien then cemented the advantage with an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 106 on an increasingly batsman-friendly pitch, taking Ireland to 159-2 at the close.

"We ground it out and batted far better than we did in the the first innings," Joyce said."There were still a few loose shots in there, but the real story is the way the lads bowled.

To get them out on that pitch for a lead -- no matter how small -- was a fantastic effort. We caught well too and now we need to push on and build a really big total. It's by no means over, but we are far better placed than we were."

Mooney took a wicket with his first ball on Tuesday and repeated the feat yesterday after another strong but unproductive opening burst from Johnston.

Dockrell had the dangerous Asghar Stanikzai caught behind for 41 and Mooney was on course for his best Ireland figures of 5-45 when Andrew White snaffled another fine catch at third slip.

A cautious seventh-wicket stand took Afghanistan to 175-6 either side of lunch before Johnston's tireless efforts finally found an edge that carried to wicketkeeper O'Brien -- a dismissal the 39-year-old celebrated by falling flat on his back in relief.

Two stumpings off Dockrell that gave O'Brien five victims for the innings and a second wicket for Johnston when Mohammad Nabi holed out to third man for 42 meant the Afghans had lost their last four wickets for seven runs.

Paul Stirling and skipper William Porterfield both found unlucky ways to get out but after a couple of early aerial shots, Joyce settled down to reach only the second half century of the match. By stumps he had struck 13 fours with O'Brien 40 not out at the other end.



Irish Independent

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