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March 12, 2013
Ireland 272 for 2 (Ed Joyce 99*, Porterfield 82, Stirling 61) v United Arab Emirates
Ireland dominated the opening day of their Intercontinental Cup match against United Arab Emirates in Sharjah thanks to an unbeaten 99 from Ed Joyce and half-centuries from the openers, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling.
The openers were cautious against a spin-heavy attack after they were put in to bat by the home side. It was a return to form for the captain Porterfield who had three ducks in his previous five innings across formats. He and Stirling put on a patient 126 in 46.5 overs before Stirling fell lbw for 61. Porterfield missed out on a century as he edged quick bowler Mohammad Naveed onto the stumps when on 82.
Joyce then took charge of the innings. His previous century for Ireland came against the same opponents back in 2005, and he could have completed his hundred on the first day if he had managed a single off the final delivery.
Joyce has 28 first-class tons, and said he wasn't too concerned over being 99* overnight. "I'm not nervous at all. I've never been 99 not out overnight before, but I'm just happy to have scored 99 - if I was to get that score every time I would take it," he said. "It's a slow and low wicket so if you stay in your crease it can be difficult to score. The lads had given us a great start so I made the conscious decision to try and score about a strike rate of 70, use my feet a bit and maybe take a few more risks than the others. I was a bit more attacking and that helped on that wicket."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?