It proved to be a day of missed opportunities for Ireland on their return to Sabina Park as they lost the one-day international against the West Indies by six wickets. On the ground which holds so many happy memories, following the excitement of the tie against Zimbabwe and the thrill of beating Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup finals, Ireland had their chance to make a significant move up the ODI world rankings table.
But despite keeping the Windies in the field for 44 overs as they reached their revised target of 213 - rain held up play for an hour - with just six balls to spare, the difference on the day was Ramnaresh Sarwan, The former vice-captain scored 100 not out, the fourth century by a West Indian on this trip. In contrast, no Ireland batsman has got past 65. At least one player should have improved on that yesterday. Niall O'Brien, with a patient 49, Paul Stirling with a confident 51 and Kevin O'Brien with hard-hitting 54 all threatened but ultimately were undone when well set.
The older O'Brien holed out to deep mid-wicket trying to bring up his half century with a maximum, Stirling, the ball after nearly being run out when backing up failed to learn his lesson and was beaten by a direct hit and Kevin O'Brien was yorked by Ravi Rampaul. At least he did reach 50 for the first time in 30 innings and Ireland will be desperate he takes that form into the T20 games which make up the rest of the tour as the countdown to the World Twenty 20 begins in earnest.
Ireland though are still waiting for William Porterfield to transfer his promising starts into a meaningful contribution - on his 100th appearance he was caught at second slip for 10 - and Andre Botha and Alex Cusack are no nearer finding their true form after quick dismissals. Andrew White improvised, as only he can, but this time he got no help from the lower order and Ireland's total of 220 was around 25 less then they might have expected. At first it didn't look as if it would matter as Peter Connell had Shiv Chanderpaul caught from the last ball of his first over and, four balls later, Trent Johnston had opening partner Andre Fletcher caught in the same position.
Indeed such was the accuracy of the opening bowlers that West Indies were 23 for two after 12 overs but Johnston's seventh over went for 15 and the hosts slowly but surely gained control. George Dockrell took his first ODI wicket on his debut but that was to be Ireland's only success in 33 overs as Sarwan shared stands of 55 with Wavell Hinds and 111 with Narsingh Deonarine.
Worryingly, Botha and Cusack also struggled to find their length with the ball and by the time Paul Stirling was introduced in the 35th over - he took a wicket in his first over - it was too late to induce any panic in a West Indies side who still have Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and the big hitting giant Kieron Pollard to come into their World Twenty20 line-up. Ireland are their first opponents on April 30 and there is plenty of work ahead in their remaining five warm-up matches, starting on Saturday back at Sabina against a West Indies XI.
- Porterfield plays Rampaul to off
- Stirling works Bernard off his legs
- Stirling works Rampaul behind square
- Stirling pulls Rampaul
- Botha works Bernard to leg
- Botha cracks Rampaul to off
- Stirling drives Sammy to cover
- Botha nicks off to Sammy at second slip
- Niall O'Brien cover drives Sammy
- Stirling drives Sammy over cover
- Stirling works Benn to leg
- Niall O'Brien works Benn to leg
- Niall O'Brien sweeps Benn
- A pair of O'Briens and a pair of 72s!
- Niall O'Brien cover drives Rampaul for the first boundary for a long time
- Kevin O'Brien swings Rampaul to leg
- Wilson plays Bernard into the covers
- Wilson miscues Bernard to Sammy
- White pushes Miller for a single
- White works Rampaul to fine leg
- Kevin O'Brien reverse sweeps Miller for 4
- White lofts Miller
- slog sweeps Benn
- Kevin O'Brien is bowled by Rampaul
- Boyd Rankin has a lunchtime workout
- Chanderpaul nicks to Andre Botha at second slip
- Sarwan forward defensive: the shot of choice for quite a while
- There's so little action that the outfield is colonised by egrets.
- Sarwan slogs a free hit over long on to break the shackles
- Sarwan forces Trent Johnston straight for 4
- Deonarine works Kevi O'Brien through mid wicket
- Deonarine hits George Dockrell straight for 6
- The covers are on
- Deonarine swings Botha to leg
- Deonarine hits Connell over mid on
- Deonarine lofts Stirling to Cusack at long off
- Bravo whacks Stirling over wide long on for six