Arshad Ali scythes through Afghanistan
UAE 462 (Palekar 76, Amjad 76, Zadran 4-98) and 212 for 5 (Palekar 61, Patil 74*) lead Afghanistan 328 (Nabi 117, Arshad Ali 6-45) by 346 runs
United Arab Emirates secured an imposing 346-run lead on the third day of their Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan in Sharjah, Arshad Ali's career-best 6 for 45 sparking a dramatic collapse as the last five Afghan wickets fell for the addition of just six runs as they were bowled out for 328. A second quickfire fifty from first-class debutant Bakthiyar Palekar and an unbeaten 74 by Swapnil Patil underpinned UAE's second innings, the home side reaching 212 for 5 at stumps.
Afghanistan had been a position of reasonable stability in the morning as Mohammad Nabi's century allowed them to begin the day at 242 for 3. His fourth-wicket partnership with Mohammad Shahzad was snapped at 99, however, and both men fell within four balls of each other to heap pressure on the lower middle order.
Initially, they responded well, Asghar Stanikzai chipping in with 41 in the midst of a sixth-wicket stand of 66 with Samiullah Shenwari. But Arshad then returned to the attack with devastating results, dismissing three of his victims clean bowled and ending the innings by removing Hamid Hassan and Hamza Hotak with consecutive deliveries.
Arshad then failed with the bat, and UAE also lost Abdul Rehman early to slip to 21 for 2 to raise hopes of an Afghan fightback. Palekar offered a fine counter-attacking innings, however, scoring at better than a-run-a-ball in his 61 and helping to add 75 in just 12 overs with Patil. After he fell, Patil combined with captain Khurram Khan, their 91-run stand putting the match in the hosts' control.