The bowlers celebrate victory in the dressing room.

Three and easy! Ireland surge to top of table on road to the promised land of Test cricket

Another emphatic win for Ireland this morning.

THERE’S STILL A long way to go but Ireland took another significant step towards achieving Test status with another thumping win this morning.

John Bracewell’s side have now collected maximum points from their opening three Intercontintental Cup outings after recording an emphatic 145-run victory over Papua New Guinea.

Ireland have won this competition four of the last five editions but the stakes have been considerably raised this time around with the winner given the opportunity to play for a seat at the top table of the sport.

Ireland’s enduring dominance at this level was once again reinforced as they swatted a dangerous and determined PNG outfit aside with minimal fuss.

On the final day in Townsville, Queensland, the Ireland bowlers broke the back of PNG’s stubborn resistance as they took the nine wickets required to get over the line.

In sweltering and stifling conditions, it was very much a collective effort as Tim Murtagh (2/25) and Boyd Rankin (3/31) did the most damage with the ball.

Ireland now regain top spot in the competition after temporarily falling behind Netherlands over the winter period.

Niall O’Brien’s first innings half-century, which was followed up by fifties from Kevin O’Brien and Ed Joyce in the second, provided the platform for the fast-bowlers to rattle through the Pacific Islanders.

Ireland’s next assignment in the I-Cup is a home tie against Hong Kong during the summer, but for now attention turns to the shorter-format.

With the ICC World Twenty20 just weeks away, Ireland face PNG in three T20 internationals fixtures in preparation for the tournament in India.

Ireland 289 and 244/5 dec (64 overs; K O’Brien 75*, E Joyce 58, A McBrine 40*, G Wilson 27, L Nou 2/37)

Papua New Guinea 188 and 200 all out (73.4 overs; S Bau 45, V Morea 35, J Vare 31, J Reva 21, A Vala 20, B Rankin 3-31, T Murtagh 2-25, C Young 2-50)

Ireland win by 145 runs – Full scorecard available here


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