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Match Report
Derek Scott

Following the match against Scotland two weeks ago, when Ireland gained a first-innings "win" this was the second step on the way in Ireland's ambition to win a hat-trick of Intercontinental Cups. This was the fifth match Ireland had played against Bermuda and the fourth win. All the previous matches against Bermuda were limited overs. In early 2007 Bermuda were easily beaten in the World League in Nairobi. This win was even more facile. It was achieved by an innings with a day and a session to spare. Late on the first day, when Ireland were 300 for 3, Bermuda must have begun to regret sending Ireland into bat after they had won the toss.

Ireland made one enforced change from the recent match against Scotland. Morgan was not released by Middlesex and was replaced in the squad by Dominick Joyce. He was replaced in the actual team by Fourie and Joyce became 12th man. Only four of the Bermuda team remained from the 11 beaten in Nairobi in January. These were Romaine, now the captain, Leverock, Jones and Cann. The Irish team as compared with that match showed four changes. In came Cusack, Thompson, Fourie and Langford-Smith for Carroll, Morgan, P Mooney and Rankin. The pitch at Castle Avenue was, as usual, slow. The first day was overcast and a little chilly. The outfield had a heavy dew and the start was, in fact, delayed for an hour from 11 until noon. Under the regulations governing this competition, that time could be made up by adding an hour on to the close of play, originally scheduled for six o'clock.

Bermuda won the toss and invited Ireland to bat. The experiment of using White as Porterfield's opening partner was continued, but once again it failed. O'Brien (yes, he was playing for Bermuda!) and Steede, both not much above medium pace, opened the bowling. In O'Brien's second over White hit a four to fine leg but was bowled two balls later trying to pull a ball which kept a little low. 7-1-5. Botha had made his 186 against Scotland batting at number six. Now he arrived at number three and duly made another century. This was his third in successive first-class innings in which he played. He had scored 157 in Abu Dhabi, 186 at Stormont and now 122. They were three successive innings in three successive matches, in none of which had Ireland batted a second time.

Botha's stand with Porterfield began with a couple of maidens. Then, in four overs in which he faced, Botha hit four fours. Jones replaced O'Brien who changed ends. Another four and two by Botha brought 50 up in over 15. Lunch came at 1 p.m. after 16 overs were bowled in the hour. The total was 52-1, Porterfield 19 and Botha 28.

Another Irish sounding Bermudan, Kelly, bowled after lunch. In two successive overs Botha hit four fours, mostly square cuts. With a pull for four off Kelly in over 22, Botha went to exactly 50 out of 86 in 56 balls. It was his 10th four. Two fours to Porterfield off O'Brien bought 100 up in over 25. Trott, an offspinner, was then given a stint. O'Brien's 11th and last over of this spell conceded 15 runs. Porterfield cover drove successive fours. The first of these took him to 53 off 90 balls with nine fours. In between the half century for each player had come the 100 run partnership, which had taken 23 overs.

Leverock, slow left arm and Bermuda's best bowler, was not given an over until the 35th. However, Botha hit him for two off side fours in his first over to bring up 150. After one over Leverock changed ends and his third over was a maiden. The next landmark was Botha's century. He took seven runs off Leverock's fifth over to bring him to exactly 100 from only 123 balls and with 17 fours, a huge percentage of his runs. Botha has now joined the players who have made centuries for Ireland in successive innings. These are IJ Anderson (who did it in one match), MA Masood, N O'Brien and Botha's current partner at the wicket, Porterfield. Bermuda's captain, Romaine, came on for over 50 with the total at 216. His first over was a maiden. However it was Kelly, in over 53, who broke the stand. He had Botha brilliantly caught by Leverock at wide slip. It was a tumbling catch secured at the third attempt. It was a great catch for such an un-athletic looking player. 228-2-122. Botha faced 147 balls and hit 20 fours. The stand of 221 was the second best for Ireland for the second wicket (the best is 304) and is the highest for this wicket made in a home match. The previous highest in a home match was 184. The stand lasted 50 overs.

N O'Brien came in and tea was taken after 57 overs with the total on 241-2, Porterfield 98 and O'Brien 7. Romaine and Steede were the post tea bowlers. In over 59, with a two to leg off Steede, Porterfield went to 101 out of 249. He had faced 187 balls and had hit 14 fours. In the same over 250 came up. In this stand Porterfield continued to play the sheet anchor role and in the stand of 72 in 21 overs he had no fours. O'Brien, on the other hand, hit six fours in his 39. 300 was raised in over 73. Next over, just as a big score was looming for O'Brien, he made his usual mistake when well set. The sweep shot, which he plays badly, was his undoing and he was caught at short square leg. 300-3-39. K. O'Brien joined Porterfield in over 74. At eighty overs, with just over an hour left, a new ball could be taken, the score was now 316, but was not. 96 overs was the day's ration so there could have been 16 overs with the new ball. Instead, Leverock and Jones bowled the day out. 98 overs, in fact, were bowled up to 7 p.m. The score at the close was 362-3, Porterfield 153 and K. O'Brien 25. Just before the close Porterfield reached 150 in 297 balls, with 18 fours. Porterfield, like Botha the earlier in the day, reached his fourth century. The two of them joined RH Lambert, MA Masood, SJS Warke, DA Lewis, and AR Dunlop, all of whom had hit four centuries for Ireland, but none of whom had gone any further than that. Porterfield also joined the 150 brigade. His was the 12th score for Ireland of 150 or more.

The last session of play had 41 overs in it. In those 115 runs were scored, a rate of just under three runs per over. Porterfield in those overs scored 55 runs from 118 balls. He may, however, have been instructed to be the sheet anchor and to be there overnight. O'Brien, usually a quick scorer, had got 25 from 80 balls by the close. So well had Ireland done earlier it was felt that a score of 400 plus could have and should have been on the board overnight.

Play on day two, more sun and warmer, began as scheduled at 11 a.m. Still no new ball was taken. Steede bowled with Kelly for a 13 over stint at the start. The first over was a maiden. Then O'Brien hit 10 off Kelly. For a few overs fours were mixed with dot balls. In over 107 O'Brien pulled Steede for a four to bring up his 50, off 118 balls with eight fours. Next ball he was caught at extra cover off a drive. 399-4-50. Cusack came in and was lucky off two successive balls in the next over, bowled by Kelly, a near catch to gully and a one-handed attempt by slip diving to his right. 400 came up in this over, the 108th. Next over, bowled by Steede, Porterfield hit a four but, three balls later, was caught and bowled. 405-5-166. He had faced 326 balls, hit 21 fours and given no chance.

Johnston joined Cusack and Leverock replaced Kelly for over 112, the 14th of the day. Cusack hit two fours in Steede's next over and Jones replaced Steede. Still no new ball was taken after an hour's play. 50 runs had been added and now 112 overs bowled. Cusack, 9, seemed to give Leverock a chance at slip off Jones with the score on 424. The 121st over saw 450 up and the sixth wicket fell in over 124. Cusack came down the pitch to Leverock and gave a simple return catch. 467-6-27. McCallan, after a series of low scores, joined his captain. By lunchtime 127 overs had been bowled. The score was now 485-6, Johnston 42 and McCallan 7.

Still there was no new ball. In five overs after lunch McCallan hit four fours and Johnston two. 500 came up in over 130. Johnston reached 50 in over 131 in only 55 balls with five fours. The first ball of over 132, bowled by Leverock, had McCallan caught at the wicket. 509-7-21. Fourie came in. At this stage Johnston probably had a time and a total in mind for a declaration. In fact he hit two more fours off Jones and was then out to Leverock caught at short extra cover. 524-8-61. His 61 came in 60 balls with seven fours. Johnston's dismissal brought the declaration. The innings had lasted one ball short of 134 overs so the overall rate was a tad under four runs per over. The one ball had been used for the entire innings. The innings lasted 8 hours and Bermuda would need 375 to avoid a follow-on. The total of 524 was only seven short of Ireland's highest total ever, 531-5 against United Arab Emirates as Abu Dhabi earlier in the year. It was Ireland's highest ever home score, exceeding the 473-7 scored against Scotland at Stormont only two weeks earlier. In the course of the innings 72 fours were hit, 288 runs out of a total of 524. Bermuda used eight bowlers. Leverock bowled the most, 30.5 overs, and took 4-98. Steede and Jones both went for over 100 and Steede had two wickets.

At 2:15 p.m. Bermuda set off with Outerbridge, left-hander, and Edness, in what they must have considered a fairly forlorn quest. 58 overs remained to be bowled in the day. Fourie shared the new ball with Langford-Smith although he had been wicketless in his last four bowling stints and was to be so again in his seven overs in this innings. Both batsmen hit fours off Fourie. Then, in over five, Langford-Smith had Edness caught low at gully by McCallan. 13-1-8. Cann, at number three, hit his first ball for four to long-off. Outerbridge and Cann scored freely and put on 64, the best stand of the innings, in only 75 balls. Outerbridge hit five fours in the space of five overs, but was missed at slip by Botha when 16 off Langford-Smith. Then Cann weighed in with a six to long-on off Langford Smith in over 11 which brought up Bermuda's 50. This was, in fact, the first six of the match, none having been scored in Ireland's massive innings. Cann repeated his six in Fourie's next over, a shot which actually lost the ball. Johnston came on for Langford-Smith. Then Outerbridge took two fours and 10 runs in all of Fourie's seventh and last over. He was replaced by Thompson and and it was unusual to see a spinner bowl in the 16th over of an innings for Ireland. It worked however! In Thompson's second over Cann was lbw hitting across the ball. 77-2-23. Celestine faced the remaining five balls of Thompson's over and hit the fourth for six over long-leg. After one more over, the 19th, tea was taken at 87-2, Outerbridge 45, Celestine 8.

39 overs remained to be bowled in the last session. By using their three slow bowlers for most of it, Ireland got through the session in the allocated two hours. In the first eight overs after tea, four were maidens, two each by McCallan and Langford-Smith. With a single in over 21 Outerbridge went to 50 out of 98 in 73 balls, and 100 came up in the same over. Seven overs later he was out, lbw playing back to Langford Smith. 109-3-53. His innings lasted 98 balls and he hit 10 fours. The captain, Romaine, was next, but lost Celestine to the fourth ball of over 32. Cusack, close in, dived forward and caught the ball left-handed. 119-4-23. Celestine had nearly lost his wicket two overs previously when long-off made a great effort at a running catch. The diminutive Trott joined his captain and 30 runs were put on labouriously in just over 11 overs. Five of these overs were maidens but Romaine did hit three fours in a two over stint given to O'Brien. Thompson came back for over 41. In his second over he caught and bowled Romaine low down from a drive. 149-5-28. Leverock came in and hit Thompson for three fours early in his innings but six of the next nine overs by Thompson and McCallan were maidens, with 150 coming up in over 45. For 10 overs the batsmen did not change ends.

When they did it eventually change ends White and Johnston came on to bowl. In the last five overs of the day three wickets fell to this pair of bowlers. White, the seventh bowler used, came on for over 54 in place of McCallan. Trott snicked the last ball to N.O'Brien. 173-6-13. In came Jones and he watched Leverock's dismissal to the second ball of the next over, bowled by Johnston. The ball cut back and Leverock was lbw. 173-7-18. Kelly came in and played out the over. Then Jones hit White for a straight four and, two balls later, he, too, was lbw, the fourth such dismissal so far, as he pushed forward. 177-8-4. Steede came in for the remaining two overs of the day. Close of play, after 58 overs, came at 180-8, Kelly on 2 and Steede on 1. Ireland would have been pleased to have 8 wickets down in two sessions. In the final hour Bermuda went from 149-4 to 177-8.

The third day was cloudy but there was no breeze. Ireland's fond hope was not alone to take the remaining two first-innings wickets quickly, but also to get Bermuda in again and have the match over by close of play on the third day, and win with a day to spare. The fond hope materialised and the match finished after 12 balls had been bowled after the tea interval. The win was by an innings and 146 runs and it was the third innings victory in the Intercontinental Cup achieved in 2007. Previously United Arab Emirates and Canada had been beaten by an innings. Bermuda used the heavy roller before Kelly and Steede strode out to face Langford-Smith and Johnston at 11 a.m. The end came in six overs. Johnston bowled the second over and had Kelly lbw with his third ball. 182-9-2. O'Brien, number 11, had most of the remaining strike and hit Langford-Smith for a four to wide long off in the fifth over of the day. He was bowled by Johnston off the last ball of the next over, the 64. The total of 192 left Bermuda needing to make 332 in the enforced follow-on to make Ireland bat again. Ireland used seven bowlers during the 64 overs. Five of them took wickets. Johnston took 3-17 in 11 overs, Langford-Smith, Thompson and White had two each at a total cost of 94 runs. McCallan's figures were noteworthy, 16-11-14-1. Langford Smith first wicket was his 50th for Ireland.

No roller was used before, at 11:30 a.m., Outerbridge and Edness emerged to open Bermuda's second innings to Langford-Smith and Johnston. 88 overs were left in the day. Langford-Smith's first ball went for four leg-byes and Outerbridge hit two fours, an off drive and a leg glance in Johnston's first over. Edness failed to score of the five balls he faced, before he pushed Langford-Smith up to short square leg in the third over where Thompson took an easy catch over his head. 13-1-0. Cann came next. He had made a quick 23 in the first innings and batted well again. He and the left-handed Outerbridge put on 57 runs in 100 balls. The start was mostly singles with the odd four to both batsmen. O'Brien came on for over nine in place of Langford-Smith. The 10 over score was 27. Thompson came on for over 14 and 50 was raised in over 15. McCallan replaced O'Brien for over 17. Cann hit a 6 to mid-wicket off his second ball which Botha made a great effort to catch. In the same over Outerbridge square cut a four. In all there were 11 runs off McCallan's first over, but he didn't concede another run in the remainder of this innings. Cann hit Thompson for two fours in over 18 and McCallan's next over was a maiden. In over 20, Cann attempted to sweep Thompson and was lbw. 70-2-38. His 38 was made in 50 balls with the one six and five fours. Celestine was next and three of the next four overs were maidens but, in between, Celestine hit Thompson for two fours to long-off.

Lunch came after 24 overs with the score at 78-2, Outerbridge 28 and Celestine 8. Langford-Smith and Fourie took up the bowling after lunch and, in fact, bowled in tandem for 21 overs and took five wickets, four of them going to Langford-Smith. Outerbridge began the session well with three fours to third man. Then, in over 27, Celestine nibbled at Langford-Smith and was caught at the wicket. 91-3-9. Romaine came in and hit a four from his third ball but was out in Langford-Smith's next over, the 27th. He was caught low and left-handed by White at second slip. 99-4-4. Trott square cut his first ball for four to bring 100 up. He glanced a four in the next over. Over 33 was eventful. Outerbridge hit Langford-Smith for a four and a single to bring up his 50 with the score on 117. His 50 took 98 balls and contained 10 fours. The fifth ball of the over had Trott caught by Cusack moving back to mid-off. 119-5-12.

Jones came in but the batsmen had crossed. The next ball, the last of this eventful over, had Outerbridge caught by Fourie at deep mid-wicket from a rather despairing shot. However, his scores of 53 and 50 were easily Bermuda's two best scores. 119-6-50. This was Langford-Smith's fifth wicket of the innings. It was his second five wicket haul in a first class match. His first had come against Scotland in this competition at Aberdeen in 2006. Leverock joined Jones. Some maidens were bowled but in a stand of 18 there were four fours, three of them to Jones and one to Leverock. Ireland had an attacking field so anything that passed the close in field was almost automatically four. In over 40 Fourie got on the scoresheet when he had Jones caught at the wicket. 137-7-14. Steede was promoted by one place and the second best stand of the innings ensued with Leverock. They added 49 runs in 13 overs. A four to mid-wicket by Leverock off Fourie brought up 150 in over 44. Thompson came on for Fourie for over 46 and White, the seventh bowler used, for Langford-Smith for over 47. After three overs from Thompson, McCallan came on for over 52 and bowled a maiden. The next over, bowled by White, was the last before tea. Steede hit a four to extra cover but he pushed the fifth ball up to Langford-Smith at deepish short leg and tea was taken. 186-8-26. Leverock at this point was 22 not out.

After tea, Kelly faced the last ball of this White over for no run. McCallan bowled yet another maiden to Leverock. Over 55, bowled by White, finished the match at 4:07 p.m. Kelly was bowled by a big off spinner off the fourth ball. 186-9-0. O'Brien struck out at the next ball and was caught by Thompson at long-on. The star of Ireland's seven bowlers was Langford-Smith with 5-45 in 15 overs. White's 4.5 overs at the end gave him 3-7 and 5-16 in 7.5 overs in the match. His wickets now total 75 to go with 1742 runs. McCallan again gave nothing away with figures of 6-5-11-0.

The Man-of-the-Match, (a piece of glass crystal was the award) went to Porterfield for his 166 run centrepiece of the Irish innings. The win by an innings and 146 runs is the second best Irish win ever. The best of all was earlier in 2007 again in the Intercontinental Cup against United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. That was by an innings and 170 runs.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf