IRELAND’S cricketers have moved one step closer in their quest to secure Test status, after they beat Namibia in the Intercontinental Cup.
A strong performance from Ireland sealed the visitors an innings and 107-run victory on Tuesday in Windhoek.
The result reinforced Ireland’s ambitions of winning the competition, which could lead to qualification for the ICC Test Challenge in 2018 with the eventual winner receiving Test status.
Speaking after the match Ed Joyce, who hit his second successive double century in the tournament, said: “We couldn’t have started the tournament any better with two innings victories against two good sides.
“The bowlers deserve a huge amount of credit for taking 20 wickets on what was a very flat surface and our aim was to bat once, which we also achieved.
“All in all, it was a thoroughly professional performance and we move on to our next challenge against PNG (Papua New Guinea) with a lot of confidence.”
Hosts Namibia faced a heavy defeat in the largely one-sided encounter, which opened up a 14-point gap at the top of the table for Ireland after the second round clash.
Nice to finish the season with a win . Sitting top of the ladder on our quest for Test Cricket. Time for home now pic.twitter.com/DaQdoyb2L0
— Niall John O Brien (@niallnobiobrien) October 28, 2015
William Porterfield (186) and Joyce (205) helped Ireland declare on a total of 570 for six, with Namibia needing 319 to make the visitors bat again.
But Tim Murtagh restricted the home side to 12 for 4 in their second innings.
Namibia fought back at the end of day three and went into the fourth day trailing by an innings and 146 runs.
Paul Stirling dismissed JJ Smit before spinner George Dockrell secured victory with the final two Namibia wickets.
Ireland beat the United Arab Emirates by an innings and 26 runs in the first round at Malahide, Dublin, in June.
If Ireland is crowned the overall winner of the Intercontinental Cup, they will face the tenth ranked team in the ICC Test Challenge on a home and away basis in 2018.
Victory in the ICC Test Challenge would secure Ireland their long-awaited Test status for four years until the 2022 edition of the competition.