Weather to win the day in Belfast
Ger Siggins (Irish Daily Star)
IRELAND's cricketers will be casting their eyes to the skies when they awake this morning in Belfast.
Heavy rain over the past two days has put today's RSA Challenge ODI in serious doubt.
"In 15 years working here I've never so much water," said head groundsman Philip McCormack.
Yesterday afternoon there were small lakes forming on the outfield, and a new tributary of the Lagan heading towards the score box.
But coach Phil Simmons was still hopeful last night.
"The good thing about Stormont is that it drains well, and they've invested in a couple of super soppers too.
"I know Phil will do his best to get a game in."
Australia's last visit to Belfast in 2001 was to say farewell to international cricket at Ormeau, when only 45 minutes play was possible.
If there is less than five overs play today the 5,500 spectators will receive a full refund, with a half refund if between five and ten overs are bowled.
The Irish team are just as keen to get a game in, as they may not have a better chance to beat the World's No.1, whose team isnshorn of the legends that got them there.
"The conditions will make it difficult for everyone," said Simmons.
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke isn't being complacent either.
"One thing that's impressed me is how Ireland play as a team", he said.
"They all have a job to do and when they all perform they're tough to beat, especially in their own conditions."
"The weather is very disappointing", said Ireland's Ed Joyce, "hopefully we'll get some sort of game in.
"We don't often get the chance to play games like these."
The Aussies know a bit about the Sussex batsman, following his match-winning century at Sydney for England in 2007.
"That was a special memory", Joyce says, "And hopefully I can do it again."
Neither side has current injury worries, but must have concerns about underfoot conditions ahead of big games against Afghanistan and England respectively.
* Ireland v Australia, 10.45am, Sky Sports 2
IRELAND (from): W Porterfield (capt), E Joyce, P Stirling, N O'Brien, G Wilson, K O'Brien, A White, A Cusack, J Mooney, T Johnston, M Sorensen, T Murtagh, G Dockrell
AUSTRALIA (from): M Clarke (capt), D Warner, S Watson, P Forrest, G Bailey, D Hussey, M Johnson, M Wade, S Smith, P Cummins, C McKay, J Pattinson, B Lee, B Hilfenhaus, X Doherty