Australia hold off spirited Ireland

28 August 2015

The World Champions were made to work for it in the one-day international in Belfast, but eventually proved too strong for the hosts

Ireland v Australia ODI, ODI


The new era of Australian cricket has started off in style with a 23-run Duckworth-Lewis victory over Ireland in the one-off one-day international in Belfast.

Australia’s new-look opening combination of David Warner and debutant Joe Burns set up the win with a pulsating 139-run first-wicket partnership as the visitors racked up 6-222 from 40.2 overs before rain prematurely ended the first innings.

Burns blasts off in Belfast

Ireland’s target was revised twice due to rain, and despite an 86-run stand between Niall O’Brien (45) and Ed Joyce (44), the Australians were always in control.

Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-13) was the pick of the Australian bowlers as Pat Cummins (2-19), Mitchell Starc (2-34) and Glenn Maxwell (2-41) each claimed two wickets to dismiss the hosts for 157 and claim the win as the sun set over Stormont.

Australia now head to Cardiff for the sole Twenty20 international before travelling to Southampton for the first of five ODIs against England.

The match was originally reduced to 47 overs per side when persistent morning showers delayed the start of play by an hour and 45 minutes.

Smith won the toss and elected to bat after he presented Australia’s 207th ODI player with his cap prior to play.

Burns burst out of the gate with five boundaries and a six in the first eight overs, looking right at home in the injured Aaron Finch’s opening position.

Warner was equally brutal, clearing the rope on three occasions as the pair brought up their half-centuries in the 15th over.

Burns was given a reprieve on 61 when he was caught behind off a Craig Young no-ball, but couldn’t make the most of his chance, out to Young five runs later after skying a mistimed pull shot.

Australia’s captain and deputy managed only 26 between them before Warner picked out Ed Joyce at deep mid-wicket to end his stay, and when George Bailey (one) and Maxwell (two) fell cheaply, the hosts had wrestled the momentum back to parity as the rain set in.

Upon resumption, Smith failed to score a century for the first time as captain of his country, caught behind for 21 off medium-pacer Stuart Thompson.

Mitchell Marsh (11) was caught on the long-off rope in search for quick runs before the skies opened and washed away Australia’s remaining overs.

After a lengthy delay, Ireland were set 195 to win from 27 overs. Starc, the planet’s No.1 ranked ODI bowler, picked up where he left off in the World Cup final in March, rattling the stumps of Ireland captain William Porterfield with an unplayable inswinging yorker.

Coulter-Nile doubled the damage an over later, removing dangerous opening-batsman Paul Stirling for a duck before the rain set in to delay the match for a fourth time.

Now chasing 181 from 24 overs, Ireland middle-order pair O’Brien and Joyce took up the challenge, cracking Marsh for a straight six and a brace of boundaries.


Nathan Coulter-Nile celebrates one of his three wickets // Getty Images

Cummins, steaming in from the Dundonald End, crashed a rearing delivery into O’Brien’s helmet that sent the batsman reeling backwards but shook off the hit and carried on.

Smith turned to the right-arm off-spin of Maxwell to break the surging partnership, and in the space of seven balls the allrounder bowled Joyce and had O’Brien caught at long-off.

Maxwell didn’t have the same luck against Thompson, as the left-hander bossed two straight sixes to give Ireland a glimmer of hope, but two late wickets to Cummins and Coulter-Nile wrapped up the victory to start the limited-overs tour and Smith’s captaincy reign with a win. 

Meet Joe Burns

Highest Australian ODI scores on debut

Phillip Hughes 112 v Sri Lanka (MCG, Jan 2013)

Phil Jaques 94 v South Africa (Docklands, Jan 2006)

Shaun Marsh 81 v West Indies (Kingston, June 2008)

Kepler Wessels 79 v New Zealand (MCG, Jan 1983)

Mark Cosgrove 74 v Bangladesh (Fatullah, April 2006)

Michael Slater 73 v South Africa (MCG, December 1993)

Joe Burns 69 v Ireland (Stormont, August 2015)