Cusack fifty steadies Ireland

EGLINTON: Ireland gained the upper hand on the third day of their Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya despite the absence of a powerful performance from any of their players. They began the day with an opportunity to seize a large first-innings lead but ended up with only a handy one, which they built on after a few hiccups in their second innings.

Kenya resumed at their overnight score of 239 for 6, trailing by 165 runs in the first innings, but were jolted early on by the dismissal of Jimmy Kamande for 73, lbw to Regan West, after an addition of only eight runs this morning. Ireland had their opening to secure a lead in excess of 100 but faced resistance from Thomas Odoyo and Peter Ongondo, who made 46 and 24 respectively to whittle the deficit towards unthreatening proportions. The innings ended when West trapped Elijah Otieno with the score on 331, securing a 73-run lead for Ireland.

Steve Tikolo had taken six wickets in Ireland's first innings and he swiftly took his match tally to eight, bowling Paul Stirling for 6 before picking up Jeremy Bray for 15. Ireland slipped into more trouble - 47 for 3 - when Andre Botha was run out by the wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma. The innings needed an anchor and found one in Alex Cusack who played patiently and shared useful, if not substantial, partnerships of 42 with Kevin O'Brien and 50 with Andrew White. He ended the day on 55 not out and steered Ireland to 139 for 4, leading by 212 runs in the second innings with a day to play.