Ireland need to discover groove before big Test debut, says Ford
If there was any doubt about the size of Ireland's task in their inaugural Test match next month, it was exposed for all to see at Taunton over the weekend - and time is suddenly against them.
A persistent drizzle was enough to abandon the final day of Ireland's friendly against Somerset without a ball bowled but coach Graham Ford had seen enough to admit huge improvement is needed when Pakistan arrive in Malahide on May 11.
"The bowlers had a good talk after the first day (when Somerset made 342-5) and were determined to put it right," said Ford.
"But it didn't happen (as the county piled up 240-3) and the batsmen didn't get a chance to make amends for their first-innings display (147 all out) with today's rain. Somerset bowled well but the batsmen know they will have to work out how to score from more balls."
Although Boyd Rankin, Tim Murtagh, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson should see plenty of county championship action in the next month, the rest of the squad have a solitary inter-provincial between Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors at Oak Hill, starting on May 1, as the only red-ball action before their biggest ever game.
James Shannon, the only Northern Knights player involved this week, has no chance to impress as their scheduled three-day game against an Ireland Wolves Emerging XI will not take place because of costs.