Canada v Kenya, Maple Leaf CC, 1st day July 30, 2006

Qaiser Ali leads Canada's about turn

Cricinfo staff at King City

Kenya 14 for 4 trail Canada 235 (Qaiser Ali 91*, Ongondo 4-49, Odoyo 3-49) by 221 runs

Qaiser Ali comes off after his gutsy innings © Eddie Norfolk
Canada turned the opening day of their Intercontinental Cup tie against Kenya at Maple Leaf Cricket Club on its head with a remarkable bowling performance in the last hour. At the close, Kenya were in deep trouble on 14 for 4 in reply to Canada's ponderous 235.

Canada had been down and out when they slid to 102 for 7, paying the price for batting on a green and slightly under prepared pitch. Peter Ongondo (4 for 49) and Thomas Odoyo (3 for 49) made life difficult early on, and against a seaming ball, the top order's technique was found out.

But Qaiser Ali, who cracked an unbeaten 91, led a dogged fightback, receiving commendable support from the tail, especially from veteran Pubudu Dassanayake (26) and Ashish Bagai (21). "Qaiser played shots all round the wicket," beamed Andy Pick, Canada's coach. "He was harsh on loose deliveries and short ones."

That recovery continued when Kenya were left with a tricky hour before stumps, and they were immediately derailed by fierce opening spells from Henry Osinde (2 for 5) and Umar Bhatti (2 for 9). Bhatti picked up the prized wicket of Steve Tikolo, Kenya's most experienced and leading batsman.

Qaiser admitted he was "very, very happy" with his score. He had "solid support that was most important for the team. I'm a bit sad I did not get the 100, but we got the total we needed. Everybody did a great job. Hopefully tomorrow [Sunday] we can bowl them out."

Pick was equally pleased. "At 14 for 4, what price are the runs we made now. That spell of bowling was top class ... not just for Associate members but for proper cricket. You must remember that - that's how good you are. We had length, speed and control today."

Roger Harper, Kenya's coach, had less to say. "We didn't build on our excellent start, so we are behind at the end of the day having lost four wickets. We allowed them to recover to 235. I still feel the team have enough batting to compete for first-innings points."