Ireland in control against UAE
Updated: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 16:04
A thoroughly professional first day batting display from Ireland has left them in control of their InterContinental Cup clash with the UAE in Sharjah.
An unbeaten 99 from Ed Joyce, and half centuries from captain William Porterfield and Paul Stirling, meant Ireland finished the day on a commanding 272-2.
After being put in by their opponents, Porterfield and Stirling adopted a safety first approach on the docile pitch, sharing a opening partnership of 126 in 46.5 overs.
The pair were rarely troubled by the friendly UAE attack, comprised of just the one front-line seamer and a battery of spinners.
Stirling (61) stuck 10 boundaries in his 147-ball stay, before being trapped lbw by Raza early in the afternoon session.
His opening partner Porterfield put the troubles of 2012 behind him with an authoritative innings, which probably deserved a century.
He had reached 82 from 221 balls (eight fours, one six) before unluckily playing on to Naveed shortly after tea with the total on 187.
Ed Joyce was in superlative form, and a strike rate of 82.50 was more than twice that of the other Irish batsmen. Joyce showed his full range of shots, not being afraid to use his feet to the spinners to hit over the infield.
He was the dominant partner in an unbroken third wicket stand of 85 with Niall O'Brien (24*), just missing out on his 100 when he could only manage a single from the final delivery of the day.
Joyce however wasn't too disappointed to be stranded overnight on 99, and said afterwards there would be no nerves overnight: "I'm not nervous at all. I've never been 99 not out overnight before, but I'm just happy to have scored 99 - if I was to get that score every time I would take it.
"It's a slow and low wicket so if you stay in your crease it can be difficult to score. The lads had given us a great start so I made the conscious decision to try and score about a strike rate of 70, use my feet a bit and maybe take a few more risks than the others. I was a bit more attacking and that helped on that wicket.”