Ireland took complete control on the third day of their Intercontinental Cup match in Rotterdam on Friday, moving on to 400 for six before Kyle McCallan declared, and then dismissing The Netherlands for a paltry 127 to open up a first-innings lead of 273.
And then they quickly made inroads into the Dutch top order as the home side followed on, taking three quick wickets in the first fourteen overs. Daan van Bunge and Eric Szwarczynski batted through to the close, however, and they will need to dig in tomorrow morning if their side is to have any realistic prospect of avoiding outright defeat.
André Botha and Andrew Poynter took their fifth-wicket to an Irish record 139 before Botha finally fell. He was missed at first slip by Nick Statham when on 170, took two, and then three balls later he got another snorter from Mudassar Bukhari and edged to the keeper, who made no mistake. His 172 had lasted 271 minutes and came off 212 balls. He hit a remarkable 28 boundaries. His last five innings in the Intercontinental Cup have produced 556 runs at an average of 131.20, three of his four centuries having gone past 150.
Poynter continued to the end, reaching a half-century in his first first-class innings and going on to a 157-ball 76 not out. He was supported by Gary Wilson and then skipper McCallan as the Irish pressed on to 400 and the declaration.
That left a session of nearly an hour before lunch, and Ireland wasted no time in grasping the Dutch firmly by the throat. Peter Connell and Thinus Fourie bowled with much more focus and consistency than the Dutch attack had managed after the first hour on Wednesday, and their aggressive bowling quickly produced results. Geert Maarten Mol was the first to go, adjudged leg-before when playing forward to Connell, Tom de Grooth played round a straight ball from Fourie, and then Nick Statham chased a widish delivery from Connell and was well caught by Gary Kidd in the slips.
Daan van Bunge and Eric Szwarczynski survived till lunch, but soon afterwards Van Bunge became Connell's third victim, brilliantly caught by keeper Gary Wilson diving to his right, and in the Irish paceman's next over Eric Szwarczynski fell to a brute of a ball, edging high to Wilson's right and seeing the keeper leap across to take the catch. That made it 37 for five, and Alex Cusack got into the act a few overs later when Borren nicked a ball he had to play at to Poynter – who had earlier dropped two chances – at third slip.
Maurits Jonkman and Mudassar Bukhari dug in for a while, playing patiently and adding 22 for the seventh wicket; Bukhari was circumspect by his standards, but managed to hit three fours in his innings of 23. McCallan trapped Jonkman leg-before with his first delivery of the innings, and Bukhari, losing patience and trying to hit through midwicket, went the same way four overs later.
Edgar Schiferli was smartly caught and bowled by Kidd, but then Jeroen Smits and Pieter Seelaar produced the best stand of the innings, adding 38 for the last wicket. Ireland's progress was held up for a while by a heavy shower which forced tea to be taken early, and after the interval Seelaar, displaying both a solid technique and good temperament, went on to top-score with 27, made from 34 balls. All the Irish bowlers performed splendidly, with Connell outstanding with four for 41. Fourie's one for 21 did not truly reflect the importance of his effort, while McCallan had two for 11 and there was a wicket each for Cusack, Kidd and Botha.
The pressure was maintained when the Dutch followed on, and it did not come as a surprise when De Grooth was bowled by Connell in the seventh over. Mol was absolutely at sea, facing 28 runless balls before he swung at a short ball from Botha and skied a catch to McCallan at first slip, to complete a pair. Statham was the third to go, hitting a Botha delivery that popped to Fourie at fourth slip. Van Bunge and Szwarczynski never looked completely comfortable, but they survived to the close, and they each took full advantage of the occasional loose ball offered by a well-disciplined Irish attack.
Van Bunge was the more aggressive, playing one superb straight drive off Fourie and a meaty, cross-batted blow over extra cover in the bowler's following over. The pitch has generated uneven bounce since the first day, and towards the end of this third day there was more evidence of balls keeping low. The Dutch face a long battle tomorrow, and they will need all their skill, plenty of courage, and a bit of luck if they are to save the match. Or possibly some help from the weather.
Day 3 Scorecard
|The Netherlands Vs Ireland|
|2-Innings Match Played At Hazelaarweg Rotterdam, 09-Jul-2008, First Class InterconCup|
|Toss won by||The Netherlands|
|Umpires||PK Baldwin (Germany) & SJ Davis (Australia)|
Match Referee DT Jukes
Day 1 Ireland 226-4 (58 overs, RSP, AC Botha 103*, AD Poynter 19*)
Day 2 Delayed start: Ireland 296-4 (77 overs, AC Botha 152*, AD Poynter 36*)
Day 3 The Netherlands 127 & 49-3 (24 overs, DLS van Bunge 21*, ES Szwarczynski 9*)
|Ireland 1st Innings 400/6 Declared (Overs 99)|
|R Strydom||c PW Borren||b Mudassar Bukhari||1||0||3||0||0|
|PR Stirling||c J Smits||b Mudassar Bukhari||11||0||30||2||0|
|AR Cusack||lbw||b Mudassar Bukhari||8||0||25||0||0|
|AC Botha||c J Smits||b Mudassar Bukhari||172||0||212||2||0|
|KJ O'Brien||c M Jonkman||b P Seelaar||79||0||114||12||2|
|AD Poynter||not out||76||0||157||8||0|
|GC Wilson+||c GM Mol||b M Jonkman||27||0||39||4||0|
|WK McCallan*||not out||12||0||14||0||0|
|extras||(b6 lb6 w2 nb0)||14|
|TOTAL||6 wickets for||400|
|1-7(R Strydom) 2-20(PR Stirling) 3-25(AR Cusack) 4-184(KJ O'Brien) 5-323(AC Botha)|
|The Netherlands 1st Innings 127/10 All Out (Overs 53.4)|
|TN de Grooth||b MJ Fourie||7||0||17||0||0|
|GM Mol||lbw||b P Connell||0||0||11||0||0|
|NA Statham||c GE Kidd||b P Connell||4||0||15||0||0|
|DLS van Bunge||c GC Wilson||b P Connell||12||0||36||0||0|
|ES Szawrczynski||c GC Wilson||b P Connell||9||0||27||1||0|
|PW Borren||c AD Poynter||b AR Cusack||13||0||17||2||0|
|M Jonkman||lbw||b WK McCallan||13||0||56||1||0|
|Mudassar Bukhari||lbw||b WK McCallan||23||0||42||3||0|
|J Smits*+||not out||10||0||60||0||0|
|E Schiferli||c&b GE Kidd||3||0||7||0||0|
|P Seelaar||c GC Wilson||b AC Botha||27||0||34||3||0|
|extras||(b4 lb2 w0 nb0)||6|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||127|
|1-3(GM Mol) 2-11(TN de Grooth) 3-13(NA Statham) 4-32(DLS van Bunge)|
|5-37(ES Szawrczynski) 6-49(PW Borren) 7-71(M Jonkman) 8-84(Mudassar Bukhari)|
|9-89(E Schiferli) 10-127(P Seelaar)|
|The Netherlands 2nd Innings (Follow-on Enforced) 49/3 (Overs 24)|
|TN de Grooth||b P Connell||8||0||21||0||0|
|GM Mol||c WK McCallan||b AC Botha||0||0||28||0||0|
|NA Statham||c MJ Fourie||b AC Botha||6||0||24||1||0|
|DLS van Bunge||not out||21||0||37||5||0|
|ES Szawrczynski||not out||9||0||34||0||0|
|extras||(b0 lb0 w5 nb0)||5|
|TOTAL||3 wickets for||49|
To bat:: PW Borren, M Jonkman, Mudassar Bukhari, J Smits*+, E Schiferli, P Seelaar
|1-13(TN de Grooth) 2-13(GM Mol) 3-23(NA Statham)|