Joyce puts positive spin on events for Ireland
Emmet Riordan (Irish Times)
ED JOYCEíS experience and class, allied to some quality spin bowling from George Dockrell and Albert van der Merwe, helped Ireland gain parity on a topsy-turvy opening day of their Intercontinental Cup clash against Kenya in Mombasa yesterday.
In total 22 wickets fell, 21 of those to slow bowlers, as Ireland came back from being bowled out for just 75 in their first innings to end the day 47 runs ahead with eight wickets in hand in their second knock.
It could have been even better as Ireland lost Paul Stirling (20) and skipper William Porterfield, for a duck, late on in the day, with Joyceís unbeaten 51 looking worth its weight in gold at stumps.
In just his third first-class match for Ireland, and first since 1998, the Sussex left-handerís 26 in the opening knock was also vital as the Kenyan spinners tightened their noose on a strong batting line-up.
Having won the toss and batted, Ireland looked in a comfortable position at 43 for one before Joyce became the first of Hiren Varaiyaís six victims.
Fellow left-armer spinner Shem Ngoche chipped in with the three scalps as Ireland lost six wickets for just 13 runs to go to lunch at 56 for seven.
Sustenance didnít guarantee survival as the left-arm spin duo got back to work to bowl Ireland out for 75, the second lowest score in the history of the competition, and Irelandís 12th lowest, just pipping the 74 scored against Philadelphia at Haverford in Pennsylvania way back in 1909.
Ireland could take heart from the fact that the competitionís lowest total of 69, also made by themselves against Namibia in 2008, saw them fight back to win the game.
And it was that attitude that shone through as Irelandís spin duo got in on the act after Kenya made a bright start, with 19-year-old Dockrell and Van der Merwe reducing the home side to 51 for seven at tea.
But some fine hitting by former Sussex batsman Ragheb Aga in his knock of 46 got Kenya past Irelandís total to gain the six bonus points on offer before they were bowled out for 109, with Dockrell (5-37) and Van der Merwe (5-41) both claiming their second first-class five-wicket hauls.
Joyce and Stirling knocked off the deficit, putting on 63 for the first wicket before Stirling was caught and bowled for 20 by Ngoche and Porterfield fell to Varaiya for a duck.
YOU CAN READ EMMET RIORDAN'S DAY TWO REPORT HERE NOW