Thompson makes Test case with stunning unbeaten century
Stuart Thompson put his name in the frame for a Test call-up with a century for North West Warriors against a full-strength Leinster Lightning attack on the first day of the inter-provincial season at Pembroke.
Ireland head coach Graham Ford, wrapped up against the elements on a two-sweater day in Dublin, led the applause for the Eglinton captain, who played the last of his 59 internationals exactly 12 months ago.
He is certain to be a name under consideration when the selectors meet tonight to choose the 13 for the historic match against Pakistan, especially if he follows up with a good bowling performance today.
Thompson, who is unbeaten on 137 having faced 198 balls, shared the plaudits on a record-breaking day with Niall O’Brien — a certainty to make his Test match debut at Malahide on Friday week — who walked off 129 not out having already batted for five and three quarter hours.
It was a maiden first-class century for Thompson, indeed the first time he had reached 50 in the purest format of the game, and although it was O’Brien’s first century for the Warriors, only Ed Joyce and Freddie Fane have scored more than his 15 first-class hundreds.
Their partnership of 266 has already shattered the previous Championship best of 196, set by Bill Coghlan and Fintan McAllister for Lightning against the Warriors in 2015.
Sweet revenge indeed, especially for Thompson who was on the receiving end with the ball that day.
Yesterday, it was an all-international attack which suffered as Lightning paid the price for going into the match with only five front-line bowlers.
Kevin O’Brien and Simi Singh can be pleased with their economical day’s work but Peter Chase and George Dockrell did their hopes of Test selection no favours with too many loose deliveries. Chase had started well with the new ball, picking up the wicket of David Barr but his next 17 overs cost 78 runs.
Chase was robbed of a third wicket when Singh missed a difficult chance in the gully off Thompson, who had been missed earlier on 84 by keeper Lorcan Tucker, who dived to his left in front of first slip off Kane.
It was Kane who had the benefit of William Porterfield’s aberration in the seventh over, the Ireland skipper shouldering arms and seeing his stumps hit.
The innings undeservedly overshadowed by the huge stand was played by Aaron Gillespie, who hit six fours and a six in his 57 from 109 balls before he steered Chase into the hands of Kevin O’Brien at backward point.
Belfast Telegraph Digital