Sat, Aug 29, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Smith grateful for Ireland ‘work-out,’ in spite of rain

AFP, BELFAST

Ireland batsman Stuart Thompson inspects his bat after it broke when he hit a ball bowled by Australia’s Patrick Cummings during their one-day international at the Stormont Cricket Club in Belfast on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Australia captain Steven Smith described his side’s rain-affected victory over Ireland as a “good work-out” ahead of the five-match one-day international series against England, which starts next week.

The squad face England in a lone Twenty20 international against England in Cardiff on Monday, but Smith was happy “all the boys got what they needed” from the game in Belfast.

Australia, in their first ODI since beating New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne in March, posted 222-6 in a first innings cut short by rain to 40.2 overs.

Man-of-the-match David Warner made 84 and Joe Burns, on his ODI debut, 69 as the openers put on 139 for the first wicket before Ireland, cricket’s leading non-Test nation, fought back with the ball.

Further rain interruptions left Ireland with a revised target of 181 in 24 overs.

They were going well with Ed Joyce (44) and Niall O’Brien (45) adding 86 for the third wicket, but after off-spinner Glenn Maxwell broke the stand, Australia’s fast bowlers swept Ireland aside, with the hosts eventually dismissed for 157.

“It was a frustrating day going on and off, but Davy Warner and Joe Burns on debut played really nicely,” Smith said after his first match as full-time Australia captain following the retirement of Michael Clarke after the 3-2 Ashes defeat by England.

“In the middle order, we lost a few wickets in clumps which was disappointing, but I’m not reading too much into that,” Smith said.

“It was our first game of white ball cricket since the World Cup final,” he added.

“And with the ball, I thought we were pretty good,” he said. “Nathan Coulter-Nile with the new ball hit good areas and Pat Cummins looked like he was bowling with good pace.”

Stuart Thompson, who scored 24 off 16 deliveries, including two sixes off Maxwell, would agree.

One delivery from the 22-year-old Cummins broke Thompson’s bat as he attempted a pull shot.

At the end of that over, the 19th, Ireland needed just 46 more runs to win, but Mitchell Starc, the world’s No. 1 ranked ODI bowler, and Cummins were just too good for the Ireland lower-order.

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