Irish enjoy a little glory

By Peter O'Reilly at Castle Avenue West Indies 306-4 Ireland 187- 3 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
AN ODD mixture of groans and cheers greeted Brian Lara's dismissal for a paltry nine runs here. Natural allegiance to a team of part-timers was tempered by the disappointment of missing out on an opportunity to witness the left-handed genius for an extended period.

Despite Lara's failure and an hour lost to rain, there was plenty of entertainment for a crowd of 4,000 and this, more than the draw the Irish secured, was the main purpose of the day. For the record, Ireland made a creditable response to the tourists' total of 306 for four, finishing with 187 for three.

Neil Doak looked suitably surprised when Lara hit a return catch in the 19th over. But no further upsets ensued and, Lara apart, the West Indian batsmen fed heartily on a relatively friendly Irish attack before rain halted play in mid-afternoon.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Williams scored at a run per ball before a lapse in concentration accounted for Williams. Chanderpaul batted with admirable fluency, hitting through the line on an easy-paced surface.

The 20-year-old left-hander entered into the spirit of this friendly game and, once he had reached three figures (82 balls, 17 fours), he made way for his captain. The off-spinner Garfield Harrison will probably claim he lured Chanderpaul down the track and defeated him, but it looked like a deliberate miss.

At the other end, Keith Arthurton was progressing with characteristic swagger as the Irish skipper, Alan Lewis, juggled his bowlers in search of another wicket. He brought himself on just before lunch and promptly beat Richardson's outside edge twice. After the break, he had two leg- before appeals turned down before the West Indian captain opened up, hitting Harrison for three straight sixes in four balls on his way to an 80-ball 57.

When Ireland replied, the chances of a rout seemed high as Gibson removed Warke in his first over and then Molins in his third, as ironic cheers greeted every Irish run. Nevertheless, the left-handed Smyth cut him convincingly and then Benson pulled his first ball from Drakes for four. When a variety of spinners was introduced, the pair helped themselves to a partnership of 161.

Smyth needed four from the last five balls to complete a century but unfortunately fell two runs short as the tourists decided against any acts of charity.