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Cricket: Ireland made to sweat by Zimbabwe

Ireland have already realised that the easy bit in this Intercontinental Cup game in Harare is scoring runs.

Although the total of 465 is their sixth highest ever, they must take 20 wickets to beat the Zimbabwe XI and know the bowlers will have to be at the top of their game. After the first three and a half hours they have managed just three and all have been taken by Trent Johnston.

The 36-year-old, however, can bowl only so many overs and the rest of this Ireland attack will have to come to the party if they’re to make inroads into a determined home batting line-up.

It helps that Zimbabwean captain Vusi Sibanda has failed in the first innings. He made 209 against the Kenya in this competition this year but if Ireland thought there would be a collapse following the quick exit of their best batsman, they were in for a rude awakening. Fortunately, they have two days left and they resumed this morning with a lead of 290.

Admittedly, Ireland were handicapped by the absence of Andre Botha who was unable to bowl yesterday after injuring his right hand in the warm-up.

Allan Eastwood was given only four overs with the new ball and, having been hit for four boundaries was not invited back, with William Porterfield preferring to use his two spare slow bowlers, Andrew White and Paul Stirling.

At the start of the day, White needed only nine balls to complete his fifth century and his fourth in the I-Cup. He will have been disappointed to be dismissed almost immediately afterwards but he is now averaging a healthy 60 in the competition.

Belfast Telegraph