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Ireland hope for Joyce's return after rain prevails

 

By Ian Callender

Ed Joyce is hoping to be fit to take his place in the Ireland side for tomorrow's second match in the Tri-Series against New Zealand at Malahide after missing yesterday's opener against Bangladesh with a stiff back.

It is a recurring problem for the 38-year-old and it reared up again when Joyce awoke yesterday morning and that could have been a hammer blow to Ireland as they strive to beat a top eight team for the first time outside a global tournament.

However, the Irish weather ruined the game, with only 31.1 overs possible before the rain returned, never to stop, and no home batsman got the chance to bat after William Porterfield won the toss and the start was delayed by 25 minutes on an overcast morning.

It was a 'no brainer' to bowl first and Peter Chase, on his home ground, carried on where he left off in England by taking two wickets in his first eight balls and added the prize scalp of Shakib Al Hasan in his second spell for his second three-wicket haul in three games.

His support from the other pace bowlers, who included Stuart Thompson, brought in as Joyce's replacement because Porterfield wanted the extra seamer, however was lacking, although Barry McCarthy continued his habit of taking an early wicket at Malahide, thanks to a well held catch at slip.

George Dockrell got through six overs on a non-turning pitch and was the only bowler to keep Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah in check as the unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 87 in 99 threatened to take the game away from Ireland.

Certainly acting captain Shakib - Mashrafe Mortaza missed the match through suspension - believed that Bangladesh had the momentum when the rain arrived and, despite being 70 for four, a total of at least 280 was still on the cards.

But Porterfield was generally happy with the way his bowlers went, obviously preferring to remember the first 15 overs, rather than the second 16.

"We have gone out and taken wickets which is good for ourselves, it is the best way to restrict teams and if we can go out on Sunday and improve again on that performance we can keep teams to below-par totals. The slight disappointment was the extras (14 wides) but sometimes that can happen when there is something in it for the bowlers and they get excited," he said.

Chase bowled three of the wides but when he was on target, he was a constant threat to the batsmen, a class above anything Bangladesh faced from the Ireland Wolves attack at Stormont on Wednesday.

From his first ball that forced Soumya Sarkar to sway out of the way, he looked a bowler confident in his own ability and after taking five England wickets at Bristol and Lord's probably knows he now belongs on the big stage.

Sarkar had no answer to his fifth ball, a superb rearing delivery which took the edge and after that the 23-year-old enjoyed himself in only his second international on the ground.

The New Zealanders may be without 10 players, still at the Indian Premier League, but they are more used to green pitches and these conditions than Bangladesh so with a much improved forecast it promises to be much more difficult for Ireland - as they showed in their impressive performance against the Wolves on Thursday.

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