Monday 19 March 2018

Ton-up Smith makes light work of Ireland reserves

DEVON SMITH smashed a century at better than a run-a-ball at Stormont yesterday as Ireland's lack of depth was cruelly exposed by West Indies A for a second time in three days.

Without the injured Andre Botha and Trent Johnston -- and with the country's county stars back at their day jobs -- Ireland's reserves had no answer to the power of the former Test opener and a disappointing total of 217 was passed with eight wickets and 11.4 overs to spare.

Ireland chose to bat but were quickly in trouble as three early wickets were lost, including Paul Stirling, who could count himself a little unlucky to be caught and bowled off a well-struck low drive.

Captain Kevin O'Brien took the attack to the tourists, lifting a massive six over long-leg, and when he fell for 37, Andy Poynter and Andrew White kept the momentum going in a fifth-wicket stand of 88.

Poynter's excellent 77-ball innings ended limply on 64 with a lofted shot to long-on and White was ninth out for 56 -- his second half-century of the week.

While Albert van der Merwe was able to claim his first international wicket, any thoughts of Ireland levelling the two-match series were swept away by Smith and Andre Fletcher in a second-wicket partnership of 130.

Smith fell in sight of the finishing line for 114 from only 101 balls, leaving Fletcher to see the tourists home with 81 not out.

Two crushing defeats by the Windies second string -- Wednesday's margin was 50 runs -- was hardly the build-up national coach Phil Simmons was looking for going into next week's World League tournament in Holland.

Ireland fans will not be confident that this squad of players -- plus Johnston, who didn't risk his bruised thumb yesterday -- have what it takes to get the better of Afghanistan, Scotland, Canada, Kenya and their hosts.


Irish Independent

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