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Stirling stars but Australia A triumph

A tremendous century by Paul Stirling failed to prevent Australia A from recording a 93-run victory over Ireland in a rain-affected tour match at Stormont.

Stirling cracked 17 fours and a six en route to 115 as Ireland replied to Australia A’s first-innings score of 312 for nine declared, which featured 133 from Steven Smith, with 186 for four.

After Ireland skipper Kevin O’Brien had declared behind in a bid to take the game forward, the tourists then dashed to 174 without loss inside 21 overs, thanks largely to a stunning 63-ball 113 from New South Wales opener Nic Maddinson.

A second Australian declaration left Ireland needing 301 for victory, but the home team were dismissed for 207 despite a valiant 63 from wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter.

Maddinson was named man of the match for his blistering knock, while Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon also impressed when returning 4-22 and 3-30 respectively in the fourth innings.

Lyon’s fellow spinner Fawad Ahmed picked up just one wicket in his first appearance since being drafted into the touring party.

Speaking to Test Match Special, Australia chairman of selectors John Inverarity acknowledged it will be difficult for Ahmed - a former asylum seeker from Pakistan who is hoping to gain Australian citizenship ahead of the Ashes - to replace Lyon as the frontline Test spinner.

“If we select him for the Test team and he plays, with his unusual circumstances, the pressure on him will be extraordinary,” said Inverarity.

“I think as a unit we need to protect him as much as we can from those distractions.”

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