Norman Vanua and Assad Vala stared for the HEBOU PNG Barramundis on Day 2 of the Inter-Continental Cup (I-Cup) Round 3 match against Ireland in Townsville today.
Vanua took a career best 5/59 with the ball to help restrict Ireland to 289, while Vala made a brilliant unbeaten century to steer the HEBOU PNG Barramundis to 7/166 at stumps on Day 2.
Starting the day at 5/232, Ireland managed to only score a further 57 runs before being bowled out for 289 just before lunch. HEBOU PNG Barramundis’ opening bowler Vanua was the chief destroyer taking a career best 5/59 while John Boge Reva (2/25) picked up a couple of wickets.
“I was very pleased with my bowling efforts, especially today. I was a bit wayward yesterday but today it was probably the best I have bowled,” said Vanua after the day’s play.
“I must give a specially mention to Billy (CPNG Strength & Conditioning Coach) and Dipak (CPNG Head Coach) for getting me right this game after suffering an injury before Christmas,” concluded Vanua.
In reply, the HEBOU PNG Barramundis got off to a disastrous start with Irish opening bowler Tim Murtagh dismissed Vani Vagi Morea (0) caught behind off the fourth ball of the innings. Vala and Lega Siaka managed to negate the tricky session before lunch to go into lunch at 1/28 at lunch.
In a tough afternoon session, the HEBOU PNG Barramundis lost Siaka (13) and Sese Bau(4) to be 3/50 inside 20 overs. Veteran all-rounder, Mahuru Dai then joined Vala to steady the innings with Vala in particularly looking in great touch hitting a well compiled half-century against a very strong Irish bowling line-up. Vala and Dai looked like they were going to bat until tea, before a quick bouncer by Chris Young undid Dai to leave the HEBOU PNG Barramundis at 4/90 at tea.
The afternoon session was a grind for the HEBOU PNG Barramundis’ batsmen, eventually closing the day at 7/166 with Vala reaching triple figures just before stumps.
“I am very tired at the moment,” said an exhausted Vala after the days’ play.
“It was very pleasing to score my second I-Cup century against the top team in Ireland. It was probably the best I have batted, considering the conditions and a very good bowling attack. Ireland currently has the upper hand, but we must try and get close to their score as possible. There is still a lot of work to be done,” concluded Vala.
The HEBOU PNG Barramundis will resume on 7/166 on Day 3, with Vala (104*) and Vanua (4*) at the crease. Murtugh (3/30), Boyd Rankin (2/16) and Young (2/36) were the wicket takers for Ireland.
Match Summary (After Day 2)
1st Innings- Ireland 10/289 Niall O’Brien 62, Gary Wilson 48, Paul Stirling 42, Norman Vanua 5/59, John Boge Reva 2/25
1st Innings- HEBOU PNG Barramundis 7/166 Assad Vala 104*, Jack Vare 22, Time Murtugh 3/30, Boyd Rankin 2/16, Chris Young 2/36
HEBOU PNG Barramundis trail by 123 runs in the 1st innings