Bowlers tear through Afghanistan
Ireland 126 for 2 (Stirling 42) lead Afghanistan 84 (Cusack 4-31, Sorensen 4-39) by 42 runs
Max Sorensen and Alex Cusack each took four wickets to help Ireland skittle Afghanistan for 84, as their rain-hit Intercontinental Cup match finally got underway on day three. By the close, Ireland had built a 42-run lead with eight wickets in hand, giving them the opportunity to try and press for victory on the final day.
Trent Johnston also impressed with the ball, taking 2 for 7 off eight overs, as the Afghanistan batsmen struggled against the seaming ball. Only three players reached double figures - Afsar Khan, Samiullah Shenwari and Gulbodin Naib all scoring 13 - as the innings lasted just 29.1 overs.
"Once the conditions dried up and it allowed us to get out on the field, I think the bowlers set us off on the right foot," Ireland captain Kevin O'Brien said. "It was a good all-round performance
"It was always going to be if you win the toss you're going to bowl, I think that was probably the only way we were going to get a win. With the bowlers putting in a performance and now the top four putting us in a hugely strong position, it certainly is on the cards tomorrow. If we can get a full day in, maybe 60 or 70 overs at Afghanistan, we certainly would fancy our chances."
Ireland showed how to play in the conditions, with Cusack adding an unbeaten 34 batting at No. 3, to go with his 4 for 31. Naib and Karim Sadiq made the breakthroughs for Afghanistan but after Paul Stirling fell for 42, Cusack and Surrey's Gary Wilson added a further 61 runs.