War­ingstown’s McCol­lum to the fore as Wolves open strongly

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY IAN CALLENDER

JAMES McCol­lum again led the way as Ire­land Wolves en­joyed an ex­cel­lent open­ing day to their sec­ond four-day game against Sri Lanka A in Ham­ban­tota.

The War­ingstown bats­man, fully re­cov­ered from the blow to the head sus­tained when field­ing at short leg in the first game which the hosts won by 10 wick­ets, edged closer to a call-up to the se­nior side with a sec­ond half cen­tury in two in­nings.

McCol­lum (below) was out in the sec­ond over of the af­ter­noon ses­sion hav­ing scored 72 from 105 balls and this time he got sup­port from Stephen Do­heny in a sec­ond wicket stand of 110. The Rush bats­man was fourth out with the to­tal on 158 but Lor­can Tucker and Neil Rock then stayed to­gether to the close — eight overs early be­cause of bad light — and have al­ready added 128.

Both have al­ready passed their pre­vi­ous best first-class scores, as did Do­heny, as the team backed up their words with ac­tion, hav­ing said they would learn from their heavy de­feat in the open­ing game.

It wasn’t all good news for the Wolves with North­ern Knights cap­tain

James Shan­non, who swapped places with Do­heny to open the in­nings, caught be­hind in the fifth over for a run-a-ball 13 and skip­per Harry Tec­tor, who has still to reach dou­ble fig­ures on the tour, dis­missed for eight.

Wolves made just the one change to the team with the ex­pe­ri­enced Craig Young fit to take his place as leader of the bowl­ing at­tack, com­ing in for Stra­bane bats­man Aaron Gille­spie.

McCol­lum, who has now av­er­aged 50 for Wolves in eight games across all for­mats, and Do­heny had to cope with a lot of early move­ment on a much more seam-friendly pitch than in Colombo last week, but they came through their test­ing ex­am­i­na­tion in style, McCol­lum bring­ing up his 50 in 67 balls, out of 91.

The loss of three wick­ets for 24 runs in eight overs after lunch threat­ened to de­rail Wolves’ good start but Tucker and Rock dug in and, after scor­ing just 15 from their first 52 balls, they qui­etly and ex­pertly gained con­trol.

Tucker has so far hit six fours and two sixes in his 128-ball in­nings while Rock, last sea­son’s Knights’ wicket-keeper, play­ing here as a spe­cial­ist bats­man has been im­pres­sively pa­tient with just five bound­aries from five balls more.

The new ball awaits in the morn­ing.

Ham­ban­tota (close day one): Ire­land Wolves 286-4 (J McCol­lum 72, L Tucker 61 not out, S Do­heny 58, N Rock 57 not out) v Sri Lanka A.

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