Intercontinental Cup: Dutch resistance leaves Ireland facing last-day battle

Ireland captain William Porterfield
William Porterfield will hope to help Ireland hit quick runs on Friday morning before declaring
Intercontinental Cup, Malahide (day three of four):
Ireland 477-6 (131 overs) and 167-4 (41 overs): Porterfield 89 no, Balbirnie 50; Barresi 2-20
Netherlands 375 (113.5 overs): O'Dowd 105, Cooper 82, van Beek 76; Rankin 5-49, Mulder 2-96
Scorecard (external site)external-link

Ireland will face a battle to beat the Netherlands on the last day of the Intercontinental Cup game after the Dutch edged day three at Malahide.

Starting the day on 140-5, the Dutch reached 375 helped by 105 from Max O'Dowd and Logan van Beek's 76 after Ben Cooper was quickly out for 82.

Boyd Rankin took five wickets but it was still a fine Dutch batting effort.

William Porterfield's 89 not out helped Ireland reach 167-4 to push their lead to 269 but a draw now appears likely.

O'Dowd and van Beek added 160 for the seventh Dutch wicket after Cooper had added only one to his overnight score before edging Tim Murtagh to Andrew Balbirnie at second slip.

O'Dowd's maiden century, from 151 balls, included 16 fours and a six.

Both men were to finally fall to the impressive Rankin, whose figures of 5-49 were the Warwickshire pace bowler's first five-wicket haul for Ireland since 2008 in the same competition against Namibia.

Ed Joyce went early in Ireland's second innings, however 50 from first-innings double century man Andrew Balbirnie and an unbeaten 89 from skipper Porterfield saw the pair share a second-wicket stand of 113 as Ireland played positively.

It was the unlikely figure of stand-in Dutch skipper Wesley Barresi - deputising for Peter Borren who didn't take the field with an injured finger - who broke the stand as he bowled Balbirnie for exactly 50.

Barresi then dismissed Gary Wilson around his legs and with John Anderson going in between, Dutch spirits were high.

However, Porterfield remained at the crease and he and Kevin O'Brien will hope to hit quick runs on Friday morning before a possible declaration.

Porterfield will have his sights on his 16th century for Ireland before setting the Dutch a target in the region of 350.

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