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Ireland have plenty to work on ahead of Test as Somerset shine


By Ian Callender

As a dress rehearsal for their first Test match next month, the opening day of Ireland's four-day game against Somerset at the County Ground was a stiff learning curve.

After winning the toss on a green pitch, Ireland paid the price for two missed opportunities and Somerset piled up 342-5 with Eddie Byrom, a 20-year-old Zimbabwe national with an Irish passport, finishing 124 not out.

Byrom said after his maiden century for the Somerset 1st XI that he had no interest in playing for either country - "I am going down the English route and will qualify in three and a half years" - but he should have been just a footnote to the day's play after being dropped on eight by Andrew Balbirnie at third slip.

Craig Young, in the Ireland side for the first time in 11 months after an elbow injury, was the unlucky bowler but he never came as close to a wicket again, and conceded 76 runs in his 17 overs.

Barry McCarthy (3-66) ended as the most successful bowler, thanks to two wickets in an over including 42-year-old Marcus Trescothick, the former England opening batsman, for 75, but he too had been missed, on 48, off Boyd Rankin.

The best bowler was Peter Chase who staked an early claim to face Pakistan, deserving more than one wicket for 53 runs, also from 17 overs, as Gary Wilson shared the bowlers' workload.

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