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Porterfield has sights on a double ton

By Ian Callender

Just when he needed it most, William Porterfield played his biggest innings for Ireland.

The Donemana-born opening batsman had raised his bat for a personal hundred three times before in his short international career but had never got past 112. He resumed this morning, the second day of the Inter-Continental Cup clash against Bermuda at Clontarf, on 153, a double century in his sights and Ireland on 362 for three.

The only imponderable is how long he would need to reach the next milestone. But the 22-year- old was still thinking of the team as he reflected on a good day at the office.

" It would be nice to get 200 but if we have to pull out as a team, and I don't get the chance, then so be it. If we bat long enough, hopefully I'll take it, " said Porterfield.

"I set out my stall to bat out the day and if I batted through knew we'd end up with 350 or more. We have achieved all our targets."

The first day of Ireland's farewell match to their longest and greatest ever season could hardly have gone much better. Andre Botha dominated the first half of the day, scoring 122 in just 50 overs, his third successive century in the competition, and then Porterfield, with great dedication and monumental concentration took over to steer his side to a position where they can already contemplate an innings victory.

"It's a pretty good wicket, we thought it would do a bit early on and it did. We wanted to bowl ourselves but we lost the toss, but we knew we had to dig in, get through the first session and take it on from there," added Porterfield.

In fact the Botha dismissal was Bermuda's cue to produce their most accurate bowling and the runs feast - 400 in the day appeared a formality halfway through the day when Ireland were 220 for one - turned into a crawl.

"The last session wasn't easy (Ireland scored 120 for one in 41 overs), they bowled in good areas. The wicket got a little slower but you've got to give credit to Bermuda," said the first batsman to score 1,000 runs for Ireland in a calendar year, in his 28th match. His fourth international hundred gave him great satisfaction and, he admitted, was probably the best of his career.

"The other three hundreds were in 50-over games so it was nice to get in and bat for a day. It's up there with the best of them."

His innings was in sharp contrast to his opening partner Andrew White, asked to open for the second successive match after leg spinner Greg Thompson was preferred to Dom Joyce in the final 11.

The Instonians batsman survived a big appeal for caught behind off his fifth ball, broke his bat with his ninth and pulled his 10th onto his stumps. His only consolation was that it got Botha to the middle nice and early.

Scores: Ireland (first innings): 362-3 (W Porterfield 153 not out, A Botha 122, N O'Brien 39, K O'Brien 25 not out) v Bermuda. Continuing today.

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