Laudable: Ireland Achieve Record Test Feat Worth Noting, Appreciating!
For a team that only just returned to the highest form of competitive international cricket, Ireland have done something that must be fully lauded and not be shoved under the carpet, whether by cricketing pundits, critics or the fans.
After facing an embarrassing loss to Bangladesh in the one-off contest, which didn’t even yield five full days of cricket, followed by another shattering loss to Sri Lanka in the first of the two Tests, the current Ireland team led by Andy Balbirnie have sort of bounced back.
It’s a comeback of sorts. It’s an achievement that perhaps deserves the fans and fanboys to join an appreciative chorus in tandem.
In the ongoing Second Test against Sri Lanka taking place at the Galle International Stadium, Ireland came up all spirited and confident in a bid to put up some serious runs on the board. And boy, did they succeed at that unifying mission that saw the top and the middle order giving it their everything with the bat in hand!
In posting a confident, much needed 492 runs on the board, Ireland went on to achieve their highest team total in any Test played thus far.
And it ought to be remembered that they are only cricketing newborns where the five dayers are concerned having just made their debut not so long ago in the pre-Covid era.
Although, what’s changed for the Andy Balbirnie-captained side is that while in the recent past, they had the services of some serious talents in the form of Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Tim Murtagh and Ed Joyce, they no longer have that challenging quartet available at their disposal.
The alacrity of the youth & the composure of the experienced lot
Yet, to have seen the young guns in the form of Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker compile valuable runs against a challenging opposition in the form of Sri Lanka is quite exciting and inspiring in equal measure.
Surely, at the moment, one can see the hosts, i.e., the Sri Lankans making Balbirnie’s team toil all courtesy a mammoth opening wicket stand between Madushka and their captain, Karunaratne, it wasn’t all going Sri Lanka’s way for the first two days of this Test.
Ireland batted and batted and scored dollops of runs, staying put at the wicket for no fewer than 145 overs. Though, what was remarkable in this instance of Ireland achieving their highest team total was the combination of the alacrity of its youth and the handy experience of his senior fellows, notably- Andy Balbirnie himself and the great Paul Stirling.
While Balbirnie fell for a patient and well compiled 95, Stirling, who has only just returned to the national side immediately stamped his signature on the contest with a dignified and crafty 103. Together, the senior-most Irish duo would face 344 deliveries on the whole whilst frustrating the Lankan bowling attack.
A Point to be noted from Ireland’s effort!
While the Test match is far from being over with there being little assistance for the bowlers- whether pacers or spinners alike- it is too early to say whether the hosts will ultimately manage to have their nose ahead of Ireland’s.
And for that, for making the Sri Lankans work just has hard and ensuring that this final contest panned out anything but like a one-sider, Ireland must be duly credited. World Cricket, with much due respect, isn’t all about the IPL and its explosive talents; there are teams like Andy Balbirnie’s spirited unit that are tying just as hard as anyone out there to mark their presence in the game with rich substance.