Afghanistan in battle for survival
Afghanistan 40 for no loss (Sadiq 29*, Ali 11*) and 264 (Noori 60, Nabi 48*, Nitish 3-58) need another 454 to beat Canada 566 and 191 for 4 decl (Bastiampillai 73, Jyoti 35)
Canada tightened control on an eventful third day against Afghanistan in Sharjah, setting them a mammoth target of 494. Canada's bowlers will hope to replicate their effort, as they bowled out Afghanistan for 264 to secure a first-innings lead of 202. Opting to not impose the follow-on, Canada returned to bat to extend their advantage and declared at 191 for 4, scoring in quick time to leave themselves with more than a day to bowl out the opposition.
Afghanistan would have expected more from their batsman, especially as they promised a far better display. Shabir Noori, the opener, had remained unbeaten on 46 at stumps on the second day, but added just 14 more on the third. The case was similar for the rest of the top and middle order; the first eight batsmen reached double-figures, but, appallingly, only one, Noori, managed to convert that into a half-century. Mohammad Nabi remained unbeaten on 48, but couldn't draw much support from the lower order as the innings folded for 264. Offspinner Nitish Kumar grabbed three for 58, and was backed up by Umar Bhatti and Sandeep Jyoti who bagged two each.
Canada needed quick runs once they decided against the follow-on, and opener Trevin Bastiampillai gave them a sound start, making 73 off 93 and striking six boundaries. Jyoti and Ramesh David then put on a brisk half-century stand in under eight overs to stretch Canada's lead to 493. Their bowlers did take a shot at Afghanistan, but the openers ensured there was no damage, reaching 40 without loss at stumps. The task tomorrow, however, remains stiff.