Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Ireland are hoping that history repeats itself after a horror first morning in their Intercontinental Cup game in Mombasa.
Reduced to 56 for seven at lunch and all out for 75, barely 20 minutes later, Ireland managed to end the first day (of four) with a lead of 47 with eight second wickets standing. Incredibly, the Ireland players can rightly say they are satisfied with the match position.
On a pitch which turned more than anyone expected so early in the match, the spinners wreaked havoc with the two Kenya slow left armers finishing with innings figures of nine for 33. But to their credit, George Dockrell and Albert van der Merwe responded superbly to share all 10 wickets in another 27 overs of mayhem.
Indeed, when the teams went for tea, with Kenya 51 for seven, Ireland were still hoping for an outrageous first innings lead. The first four overs after the break, however, went for 27 – comfortably the fastest scoring of the day – and Ireland had given up their first points of this Intercontinental Cup.
Still, they restricted the Kenya advantage after the first innings to 34, which is 16 less than they surrendered when bowled out by Namibia for 69, still the lowest total in I-Cup history. Ireland won that game in October 2008 and last night, if anything, William Porterfield's side were the more confident going into day two.
It was Porterfield and National Coach Phil Simmons, the tour selectors, who caused the first shock of the day when they omitted both Trent Johnston and Boyd Rankin from the starting line-up. Simmons explanation was that as this was the least important of the six games on this trip, they would save them for the two World Cup qualifiers next weekend.
It allowed the captain a first sight of Max Sorensen, The Hills all-rounder, in match action, the South African's only previous appearance in Ireland colours being at the Hong Kong Sixes four months ago, a trip that Porterfield missed.
Sorensen shared the new ball with John Mooney but having been involved in the pre-lunch action, the seam bowlers' role was never going to be more than roughing it up for the spinners, so the resting of Rankin and Johnston actually made perfect sense, and it also strengthened the Ireland batting order – and that is certain to be needed second time around.
Sorensen hasn't quite the hang of four-day cricket however, his dismissal the result of one of the worst shots of the day - a big swing to mid-on - but Alex Cusack, Kevin O'Brien and Gary Wilson were all caught away from the wicket.
At least Ed Joyce ensured an encouraging finish to the day. Having scored his 2,000th run for Ireland when top scoring in the first innings, he was even better in the second and has already hit seven fours and a six in his unbeaten 51 – by coincidence that was the exact boundary count for the entire Ireland first innings.
It was not such a good day for Porterfield. Although he reached 18 – and that was 18 more than his second innings contribution – he was dropped off BOTH the first two balls he faced from Hiren Varaiya at short leg. It proved an ominous sign of things to come.
But Dockrell is optimistic. "The ball didn't turn as much after tea, so it will be interesting to see if does anything in the morning or if it will flatten out and turn into a good batting track.
"We would like 400 this time but if we get 300 then, with our attack, we can go for the win," he said.