UAE batsmen take charge on first day
UAE 361 for 8 (Palekar 76, Patil 61, Zadran 4-74) v Afghanistan
United Arab Emirates took advantage of a placid track to reach 361 for 8 on the first day of the Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan at Sharjah. Opener Bakthiyar Palekar led the way on his first-class debut with an aggressive 76 after Afghanistan had made a few early dents with the new ball. There were contributions all through the lower middler order although Dawlat Zadran and Samiullah Shenwari struck at intervals to keep their team in the match.
UAE, who are languishing just above Canada and Namibia in the competition's rankings, were in desperate need of a solid first innings after being allowed to bat in familiar conditions but struggled early on as Arshad Ali and Abdul Rehman departed for single figures. Palekar fought back with an array of shots, cracking 12 fours and two sixes in his 60-ball innings before he presented Zadran with a return catch.
The home side were 90 for 3 when he fell, but it proved much harder to break through as the ball got older and captain Khurram Khan helped lay a solid platform by adding 98 for the fourth wicket with Swapnil Patil. Shenwari eventually removed Patil for 61, but Afghanistan continued to toil as Vikrant Shetty added a half-century, while Amjad Ali struck three sixes in his otherwise patient 49.
Afghanistan were able to stem the runs through Mohammad Nabi's offspin, but at the other end the runs continued to flow and even Zadran, who had his fourth wicket when he got rid of Fayyaz Ahmed, went at more than four an over. Afghanistan will be hoping to get through the tail as quickly as possible on the second morning to allow their batsmen a chance to cash in.