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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was the ninth match against India since the first one, which was a three-day first-class match played in Dublin in 1936. Ireland had won none of the previous eight matches and the current one was no different. In 1936 Ireland lost by 10 wickets. At least, 71 years later, the defeat was only by nine. This was also the first ODI for Ireland against India. It means now that Ireland have played at least one ODI against all of the test playing nations. Both India and South Africa had come to Stormont for a three match series against each other. Television beamed the series to the Far East for a big TV fee to the ICU. However only Setanta showed it in Ireland.

The day was dull and cold and only about a quarter of the 4000 seats provided were occupied. Eventually the rain took a hand. Ireland's 50 overs were uninterrupted and finished at 2:30 p.m. Because of rain India could not go in to bat until nearly 6.00 and were set a target of 171 runs in 39 overs (Ireland had made 193). In 35 overs they won the match after an unbroken stand of 162 between Ganguly and Gambhir.

There were three Irish changes since the match against Middlesex. Gillespie had retired, Hayward was not eligible and Cusack was the third not to play in this match. In came Niall O'Brien (released by Northants), White and Whelan. Bray was rested and Morgan indicated he was not available as he wished to play for Middlesex. Rankin, Botha and Langford-Smith were all on the injured list. Of the panel present at these games Kidd and Cusack were left out and Wilson was played as a batsman only. The only Indian without test match experience was Sharma although the 18-year-old Chawla had only played once. In contrast, Tendulkar had 137 tests to his name as well as 384 ODI's.

Sreesanth, with a 25 yard run, and left arm RP Singh opened India's bowling to Porterfield and Carroll. Porterfield hooked a four in Singh's second over but the stand only lasted into the fifth over. Then Carroll had a big "flash" at Sreesanth to give wicket-keeper Karthik a good catch diving low to his right. 14-1-7. Joyce was next. His stand with Porterfield of 33 runs in just under 10 overs was the best one until 48 was put on for the seventh wicket. Porterfield hit one four in the stand and Joyce hit two. One of these was two balls before he was out in over 14. Sreesanth had changed ends and Joyce nibbled to Ganguly at second slip who took a fine low catch diving to his left. This, in fact, was his 100th catch in ODIs. 47-2-18. Niall O'Brien came next but was only with Porterfield three overs before the latter was yorked by Agarkar as he fell across the crease. 56-3-16. Wilson seemed too high at number five but he did hit leg-spinner Chawla for two fours when the latter came on for over 21. In over 25 Chawla took his revenge bowling Wilson with an unspotted googly. 75-4-13. Kevin O'Brien joined his brother who had started slowly, scoring seven runs in 28 balls. The younger O'Brien lasted only 11 balls. He mis timed Chawla and short mid-wicket caught a huge skier. 83-5-3. White and Niall O'Brien put on 28 in 8 overs bowled by Chawla and Ganguly. Singh returned for over 32 and 100 came up. In over 35 Chawla took his third wicket when he had White caught at the wicket. 111-6-8.

Once again Johnston, at number eight, put himself in too late. However a good stand with O'Brien did ensue. Both started quietly. Tendulkar had a bowl at over 40. Sreesanth returned for over 41 and Johnston hit a six to mid-wicket. 10 runs in Tendulkar's third over, the 44th, saw 150 up but Johnston was dropped at long-off, the fielder failed to hold a low catch when Johnston was 30. Singh had a third coming for over 45. O'Brien hit a four to long-on to take him to 52 off 79 balls, with four boundaries. Next ball he skied to mid-off having recorded his ninth score of 50 or more in 42 innings. 159-7-52. Since early in the season McCallan seemed out of batting form. He lasted only seven balls before Singh bowled him as he tried to leg glance. 168-8-4.

Fourie, who appeared to be batting very late, and Johnston put on 19 in only 14 balls. Johnston got 13 of these. He hit Agarker for a straight four in the over 48 and Sreesanth for a mid-wicket six in over 49 (the ball was lost). In the same over Johnston was out to a great catch by Y.Singh at cover. It went very high and to the fielder's right. 187-9-34. Johnston's 34 was, with Niall O'Brien, the only score over 18. He faced 44 balls with two sixes and one four. Whelan snicked a four in the last over and was then stumped off the very last ball.

India used six bowlers who conceded between them 16 wides. Four of them bowled a full 10 overs stint. Sreesanth had 3-50 but Chawla's 3-29 was best. Rain delayed the restart by three hours. By that time the overs that India would be required to face were reduced to 39 and Duckworth Lewis set 171 as the winning target.

Roger Whelan bowled the first over and will remember its last ball all his cricketing life, if not even beyond that point. Tendulkar hit the fifth ball through the covers for four. It was his only scoring shot. The next ball hit a perfect length but Tendulkar tried to stroke it on the leg side. It went through the gap and bowled him. 9-1-4. Gambhir joined his former captain Ganguly, both left-handed. Ganguly favoured the off-side with flowing cover drives while Gambhir favoured gaps on the leg side. The pair hurried along against Whelan and Fourie. Both bowled five overs. Whelan's cost 31 but Fourie's only 11.

The score after 10 overs was 46. Kevin O'Brien's first over, and the 11th, turned 46 into 56, with Ganguly hitting two fours. Johnston for Fourie did continue the tight scoring rate at his end. He bowled six overs for only 16 runs and eight of the runs came from two fours. McCallan replaced O'Brien, who had conceded 25 runs in four overs, for over 19 and he, too, bowled a splendid eight over spell for only 31 runs. However, 100 was up in over 23 and Gambhir reached 50 in over 24 off 70 balls with six fours. In the next over Ganguly was lucky when McCallan could not hold on to a return catch. Ganguly was 42 and went to 50 in McCallan's next over, the 27th, off 80 balls with five fours. Ganguly celebrated in the next over when he hit Whelan for a six.

The end was now near. Both batsmen hit a four in Whelan's next over, the 30th. Johnston returned for over 32. Gambhir hit two fours and brought up the 150. Three overs later and the 171 target was reached with only 34.5 of the 39 overs used. The time was 8.07 p.m. and gloom was descending. Ireland fielded quite well and used six bowlers. Whelan and McCallan bowled eight overs each, the maximum number allowed. Whelan did take the only wicket but conceded 56 runs to McCallan's 31. Fourie's 6.5 overs only cost 22 and Johnston's seven went for only 25

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