Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Tourists on top at Stormont

Paul Stirling scored 115 in Ireland's first innings

Australia A ended the third day of their tour match against Ireland in the ascendancy after a dramatic day featuring three declarations and two centuries.

The hosts will resume on 51 for three and needing a further 250 for victory, but will do so without first-innings centurion Paul Stirling. Following Australia A's overnight declaration, Stirling dispatched pace bowler James Pattinson for three boundaries in the first over to set the tone for another remarkable hundred for the Middlesex player - his eighth for Ireland.

Stirling reached his half-century off just 44 balls, including 10 fours and a six, and soon found a willing partner in Andrew White. Stirling's innings ended on 115 when he was smartly stumped by Brad Haddin from the impressive Nathan Lyon, who conceded just 34 runs in 16 overs.

Australia debutant Fawad Ahmed went wicketless but following a nervous start he bowled with enough variety and control to suggest that he may indeed represent the senior Australian side before the summer ends.

Ireland captain Kevin O'Brien declared the innings at tea with the score on 186 for four - still 126 in arrears - in an move designed to take the game forward after most of Saturday was washed out.

What followed was a brutal assault by New South Wales opener Nic Maddinson. He made Stirling's innings look pedestrian by smashing 113 from just 63 balls, including 13 fours and six sixes.

His partnership with Alex Doolan was worth 174 in just 122 balls before skipper Haddin called off the carnage with the lead exactly 300.

Moises Henriques (two for seven) dismissed John Anderson (eight) and Alex Cusack (15) after Pattinson had made the initial breakthrough as Stirling edged through to Haddin.

James Shannon (11 not out) and White (2no) will be at the crease when play resumes on Monday.

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