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Tim Murtagh aims to spark a turn in fortunes for Ireland


By Ian Callender in Benoni

Just 40 hours after being thrashed by South Africa, Ireland must attempt to bounce back against world champions Australia as they complete their 2016 international season in Benoni.

It is sure to prove a character-building test, but at least the Ireland side has one winner in its ranks. Tim Murtagh has been in the country only three days, joining up with the squad after helping Middlesex win the county championship in the final half-hour of the season.

"It doesn't get much tougher, especially in these conditions which we are not accustomed to, but we will turn up and do our best again and hopefully get on the end of the result," said Murtagh, who made his debut against the Aussies in the rain-affected game at Stormont in 2012. And Murtagh knows Ireland cannot continue being on the receiving end of heavy defeats, even against the best.

"It all very well getting these matches against the top teams, but we have to start competing. We have been stuffed by three or four teams in the last 12 months or so and it's not good, we need to reverse that and do it quickly.

"We spoke after the game on Sunday about learning what they (South Africa) do and improve our skills. Everyone is trying their best, we are not accustomed to this high intensity cricket all the time so we have to learn quickly, there's no doubt about that, and start putting in better performances."

It was a surprise to everyone that Murtagh was ready to play at altitude, 5,000 miles from home, but it was always his intention to play in both games.

"If I am out here I want to play as much as possible - no point coming and not playing in my eyes. The time zone is pretty similar so no jet lag. It wasn't ideal preparation but I didn't feel too bad out there bowling, and slipped back into it quite easily."

Ireland will again be without Niall O'Brien after suffering concussion from his fall on Sunday, while Australia give a debut to pace bowler Daniel Worrall.

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