Andy McBrine's classy Irish in control against Scotland
It was not how the Ireland A team had planned it on Monday night, but day two of their game against Scotland A could hardly have gone any better.
James Shannon got significant runs under his belt at this level, James McCollum showed promise for the future and Andy McBrine is in good form ahead of next week's one-day internationals against Sri Lanka.
The visitors start the final day in Ayr with a lead of 245 and seven second innings wickets standing and will expect to declare well before lunchtime to give them as long as possible to bowl out the Scots a second time.
They lasted 80 overs yesterday, bowled out for 287, and there are only 96 overs available today, so more quick runs will be required this morning.
It was Ireland's intention to bat on yesterday morning, adding to their imposing 400 for four and giving Sean Terry the chance to set the all-gold standard for an individual score in an Ireland shirt. But the forecast was for rain during the day and that forced McBrine to leave Terry's 251 not out in the record books as he declared Ireland's first innings closed before the start.
Never trust a weather forecast! There was not a drop of rain at the Cambusdoon Sports Club but after a poor first session, when the Scots racked up 130 for three in 31 overs, the bowlers answered his call and the last five wickets fell for just 54 runs.
McBrine himself finished with five for 71 from 21 overs with Max Sorensen also showing a much more consistent line and length and he conceded just 23 runs in his last 11 overs, albeit without adding to his two wickets before lunch.
Not for the first time, Tyrone Kane was the pick of the hopefuls trying to force their way back into the senior side and he deserved better than figures of 0-27 from his 11 overs.
When Ireland batted, Jack Tector (10) was out early again but McCollum has batted through the first 29 overs, is growing in confidence and has hit four boundaries.
But everyone including Terry, caught at square leg this time for just four, was overshadowed by Shannon who hit 63 from 39 balls with eight fours and two sixes. He was caught at long-off going for his third six after scoring all but 18 runs in the third wicket stand of 81 which lasted just 12 overs. When the Instonians batsman is in this mood he remains one of the best around.
Ireland A 400-4 dec (S Terry 251 not out, A McBrine 67, J Shannon 34) and 132-3 (J Shannon 63, J McCollum 42) Scotland A 287 (T Bruce 70, S Sharif 55, M Watt 45, A Evans 34, M English 28; A McBrine 5-71, M Sorensen 2-49). Today 11am-6pm.
Niall O'Brien is an injury concern ahead of Ireland's one-day series against Sri Lanka next week after he retired injured with a torn muscle during Leicestershire's Royal London Cup match against Warwickshire yesterday.
O'Brien pulled up after facing just three balls and did not keep wicket as Ireland captain William Porterfield led the run charge, scoring 75 off 83 balls with 12 boundaries, in a first wicket stand of 169.
Warwickshire reached their target of 238 with nine overs to spare.
If O'Brien does not recover in time for the first match in the series at Malahide next Thursday, John Anderson will be the likely replacement in the squad, ironically after his name was the surprise omission from the 13-man panel.
Kevin O'Brien continued his good form ahead of the internationals, top scoring for the second successive game for Leicestershire, with 77 from 70 balls, hitting seven fours and three sixes.
Meanwhile, the Memorial Service for John Caldwell will take place today in West Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena at 2pm, following a private family cremation.
John, a former chairman and president of the Northern Cricket Union, died on holiday in the West Indies on May 27.