Ireland v Zimbabwe: White has his eyes on terrific ton
It could have been anywhere in the world as Ireland faced a Zimbabwe XI in front of a small but respectful crowd.
But it was the Harare Sports Club and if Ireland’s gift to their hosts was just making the trip, they seem determined not to hand out any presents on the field.
Ireland finished the first day of their Intercontinental Cup match on 340 for six with Andrew White and John Mooney, the pair who put on 224 against the Netherlands last month, still together with their unbeaten partnership already worth 71.
White resumes on 97, thanks to his 11th boundary in the final over of the day but it was just as well he didn’t hit another because the scoreboard — there is no telephone link to the official scorers — was showing only 93.
Still, it is already another invaluable innings from Ireland’s Mr Reliable, playing his 183rd match for his country. Coming to the middle at 157 for four, after captain William Porterfield was caught down the leg side two overs after bringing up his 50, he then lost Kevin O’Brien for a hard-hitting 71 which included 10 fours.
But first in partnership with Gary Wilson, the in-form Surrey batsman, and then Mooney, White patiently accumulated and after 152 balls he is within three runs of his second century in three matches.
The only carelessness of the day came in the first session when, not for the first time, Paul Stirling got carried away with a fast start and, attempting to pull a short ball from Shingirai Mazakadza, got a top edge and was easily taken at slip.
It proved to be the first of three catches for captain Vusimuzi Sibanda, with Niall O’Brien and Andre Botha following Stirling back to the pavilion.
Porterfield was content to watch Kevin O’Brien dominate the fourth wicket stand of 86.