Belfast - Steven Smith's first match as full-time Australia captain ended with a
rain-affected 23-run one-day international win over Ireland in Belfast
on Thursday, but it needed the speed of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc
to put the hosts in their place.
A third-wicket partnership of 86
between Ed Joyce (44) and Niall O'Brien (45) put Ireland on course for
their first ever victory over the world champions.
But after Glenn
Maxwell ended the stand, the middle-lower order could not maintain the
scoring rate against the express pace of Cummins and Starc, the world's
top-ranked ODI bowler.
Cummins (two for 19) actually broke the bat
of Stuart Thompson, who had just hit off-spinner Maxwell for two sixes
as Ireland, cricket's leading non-Test nation, chased a revised target
of 181 in 24 overs on a frustrating day of four rain interruptions.
fast bowler Starc (two for 34) ended Thompson's late rally to give
one-day wicketkeeper Matthew Wade his third catch of the innings.
Coulter-Nile, with the final two wickets in the last over, ended as the
most successful bowler and also the most economical (three for 13 in
4.4 overs) as Australia, in their first match in this format since
beating New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne in March,
ultimately won with something to spare.
Australia, with Smith
leading the team for the first time following the retirement of Michael
Clarke, had chosen to bat on what he described as a slow but good pitch
and they made 222 for six before the second rain interruption ended
their innings in the 41st over.
Burns, who made 69 on his ODI debut and David Warner, named
man-of-the-match for his 84 from 80 balls with seven fours and three
sixes, put on 139 for the first wicket
But Ireland hit back with six wickets for 85 runs to the delight of home fans at the Stormont ground.
The first 10 overs powerplay though were dominated by Australia as they scored 80, which included nine fours and two sixes.
Craig Young receiving the harshest treatment, his third over going for 17, including three consecutive fours by Burns.
Queenslander was the first to his fifty, from 45 balls and two
deliveries later, Warner brought up his half century from one ball
fewer, both openers having a then identical boundary count of six fours
and a six.
Young thought he had the first wicket when Burns, on
61, edged to the keeper, but the television umpire ruled that it was a
no-ball and the new cap's innings continued.
Burns, however, had
added just eight more runs when Young did indeed claim his wicket, a
mistimed pull going safely into the gloves of Niall O'Brien, keeping
wicket in place of Gary Wilson.
Warner hit the next ball for six but that was to be the last boundary for 11 overs.
reduced Australia to 170 for four with Warner caught at deep mid-wicket
off Tim Murtagh, George Bailey bowled by Murtagh for one and Glenn
Maxwell brilliantly caught low down to his right by O'Brien for just
Ireland claimed the big scalp of Smith, caught behind for 21 off Thompson.
did enough but Ireland, only denied a World Cup quarter-final place on
net run-rate by a West Indies team they beat in pool play, had again
proved worthy opponents for a leading team.
The Australians' tour
continues with a lone Twenty20 and five-match one-day series against
England, who beat them 3-2 in the recent Ashes Test campaign.