Ireland took complete control of the Intercontinental Cup final at Grace Road, Leicester on Tuesday, winning the toss, bowling Canada out for 92 in 31.4 overs, and then reaching 250 for three by the end of the first day, a lead of 158.
The Irish seamers received a little help from the pitch, but they bowled extremely well in making the most of the conditions. Skipper Trent Johnston led from the front, taking four for 12 in 9.4 overs, with debutant Thinus Fourie picking up three for 31 at the other end. Dave Langford-Smith was rather more expensive, but he achieved a crucial breakthrough with the third ball when he trapped John Davison leg before, the first of three such dismissals in the Canadian innings.
Kevin O'Brien bowled a sharp spell either side of lunch, taking two wickets in the final over before the interval to leave Canada reeling on 75 for nine. Only Abdool Samad had stayed for any length of time, making 29 before he was leg-before to Johnston. Umar Bhatti and Henry Osinde managed to get the score up to 92 before the latter was out, but that was still Canada's lowest score in the competition and the fourth-lowest by any country.
Jeremy Bray and William Porterfield then confirmed their side's domination by putting on 202, an Intercontinental Cup record for the first wicket. The Canadian bowlers were a good deal less threatening - and accurate - than the Irish had been, and Bray in particular took full advantage. After starting cautiously he soon raced ahead of his partner, bringing up his fifty in the 18th over when Porterfield was still on 16. By tea the Irish were in the lead, and after the break Bray moved on to a splendid century. His cover driving was outstanding, and he hit had 19 fours by that point.
By the time he was finally out, playing a tired-looking slash at a widish ball from Davison, and edging to Ashif Mulla at slip, he had reached 146, with 26 fours and a six. Porterfield, who had brought up his own half-century, followed two balls later, nicking Samad to keeper Ashish Bagai, and Ireland were 202 for two. Peter Gillespie did not stay long before Samad trapped him leg-before, but Eoin Morgan and Kevin O'Brien saw Ireland through to the close.
Samad and Qaiser Ali bowled tidily for Canada, but with the wicket getting flatter all the time the bowlers generally found the going tough. They will need to take early wickets tomorrow if they are to have any chance of getting their side back into the game.