Lightning quick to take advantage of a difficult surface
Published 18/06/2014 | 11:00
On a day of unbroken sunshine in the centre of Dublin, it should have been a glorious day to bat.
But on a lifeless pitch, runs proved as hard to find as a cloud in the sky for Leinster Lightning on the opening day of their Newstalk inter-provincial championship game against the Northern Knights after John Mooney had won the toss.
It is unlikely to get any easier so a total of 289 could yet be plenty competitive, a fact borne out by his declaration three overs before the close with only three of their possible four batting points in the bag.
It took Leinster two balls short of 100 overs to score their runs and that was with 48 runs coming off the last nine as the Knights bowlers wilted in the final hour's heat.
At least four catches were dropped which bloated Lightning's total with John Anderson, missed at slip on three, proving the most expensive, the Ireland international top scoring with a patient 60 from 150 balls, with just seven boundaries.
Fintan McAllister gave a chance on 11 which may have cost just 23 runs off his bat but the Knights could not dismiss him for another 39 overs. A strike rate of 24 (runs per 100 balls) may not have been attractive viewing but it was just what Lightning needed after losing two wickets in the first seven overs.
Andrew White, the Knights skipper, quickly summed up the pitch and asked his slow bowlers to send down 22 overs before lunch – not what anyone wants on the first morning of a three-day game.
The one batsman who made a mockery of the conditions was Andrew Poynter, who scored his first 36 runs off 36 balls with seven fours but when he lost Anderson and Simi Singh in quick succession to James Cameron-Dow, the pick of the Knights' bowlers, even the Clontarf stroke-maker had to slow down and revert to the game's type.
White was the most accurate of the bowlers and both the young Civil Service North openers, Mark Adair and Shane Getkate, persevered on the unhelpful surface; sharing five wickets was the least they deserved.
Chris Dougherty and Nick Larkin negotiated the closing overs and with so many in-form batsmen in their line-up, will be confident of getting a first innings lead.