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Porterfield frustrated by Ireland's slack start

 

Urgent concern: William Porterfield wants to see improvement
Urgent concern: William Porterfield wants to see improvement

By Ian Callender

Ireland must be more ruthless when they get first use of a slow pitch in forthcoming Test matches - so said William Porterfield after his side's seven wickets defeat by Afghanistan in Dehradun.

The Ireland captain yesterday used six bowlers to try and prevent the 'home side' scoring the remaining 118 runs, but the only wickets came when the Afghans were within three runs of becoming only the fourth team to win one of their first two Test matches - much too late to matter.

"We know it's going to be attritional cricket and we have to apply ourselves more," said Porterfield.

"We put some pressure on them with our second dig but we had to bat better in the first innings.

"We needed a minimum of 300 and they didn't even bowl as well as they could, yet it needed Murt's (No.11 Tim Murtagh) batting to get us to 170.

"Moving forward, it highlights how ruthless we have to be, especially on slow pitches."

In Ireland's first Test, against Pakistan at Malahide last May, the batsman had the excuse of being nervous in front of their own supporters and a worldwide television audience debut on the biggest stage of all, but the first innings of their second Test would have been even worse save for a 87-run 10th wicket partnership which more than doubled the score.

"I suppose you could say we had another five debutants here, but only one was in the top five batters so I can't put my finger on it," said Porterfield. "But we knew we were short in the first innings."

James McCollum, the one top order batter on debut, was one of Rashid Khan's seven victims in the match, but his captain was impressed by how the Waringstown player came back from his early dismissal in the first innings to bat for more than two hours in his second.

"To be left out after just one ODI and come back the way he did showed his character," said Porterfield.

"I liked him in the inter-pros last year and am looking forward to seeing how he goes this summer because the pitches will be more suited to his game. For what he's done, he's been very good, especially not having a lot of game time."

Porterfield also had a word of consolation for CIYMS slow left armer James Cameron-Dow, who took two wickets in his first five overs but had to wait another 19 expensive overs for his next breakthrough, when man of the match Rahmat Shah was attempting to win the Test in style.

"James was beating himself up and putting pressure on himself," he added. "The perception is that it's your job to bowl them out when things are in your favour, but when things don't go in your favour that can escalate.

"You just have to take a step back and enjoy it, and he will be able to look back and do that in a couple of weeks. He's now a Test player, and the same for Scra (Andy McBrine), who goes about his business, and George Dockrell, who played a big part with both bat and ball. It's great to get a game under your belts."

Porterfield was also asked if things would have turned out differently if DRS (the Decision Review System) had been in use in the Test - at least three calls seemingly having gone against Ireland in the second innings alone.

"It would be great to have DRS as standard across the board. Would it have been different? Yes, because things may have been overturned, but umpires go out there to do their best," he contended.

"They make mistakes, as do players, we're all human. It's the same for both sides, but it comes down to financial implications. If it's accessible, though, use it."

It will be used for Ireland's next Test, the game against England at Lord's in July, but that is how long Ireland must wait for their next red-ball action.

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