McCallum rescues Scotland as Hassan shines
Scotland 212 and 64 for 6 lead Afghanistan 171 (Mangal 56, Haq 3-49, Parker 3-56) by 105 runs
Scotland's batsmen undid the good work of their bowlers as they slumped to 64 for 6 in the second innings against Afghanistan having earlier fought back impressively on the second day of the Intercontinental Cup final in Dubai. At the close, Scotland's lead was a precarious 105 after Samiullah Shenwari and Hamid Hassan shared five wickets to reassert Afghanistan's control despite a struggle with the bat as they posted 171.
Scotland's position was harsh on their bowlers who did well to restrict the opposition by taking regular wickets during the first two sessions. Nawroz Mangal, the Afghanistan captain, top-scored with 56, while Matthew Parker and Majid Haq took three wickets apiece to earn Scotland a handy 41-run advantage despite the absence of captain Gordon Drummond with a rib injury.
However, the good position was soon eroded as Preston Mommsen fell lbw for 9 and Fraser Watts departed for a steady 28. Scotland's scoring they stagnated against some probing bowling with Kyle Coetzer and Gregor Maiden taking 12 overs over 14 runs. The pressure told as Coetzer was run out by Hassan and Maiden fell in the same over having faced 48 balls for 4.
First-innings hero Neil McCallam couldn't rescue his side this time as he collected a duck, caught behind off Hassan, and Hassan then claimed Parker who'd remained scoreless for 27 deliveries with the final ball of the day.
"I think in the first few overs of the morning we started a bit full, but about 45 minutes in we started to hit our straps and put the ball in the right areas and after lunch it was really good for the bowlers, Matty Parker in particular put in a long shift and kept asking questions and taking opportunities," said Scotland coach Peter Steindl.
"I think we had a good start with the bat and at two down we started to let things get to us and we retreated into our shell. One bad over set us back but the thing for tomorrow is to get the lower -order to bat it out, get a good lead and then have our bowlers do what they did today."
The day had promised so much more for Scotland. Mirwais Ashraf was caught behind to provide their first wicket the Richie Berrington then nabbed a brace as Afghanistan wobbled on 89 for 4. Mangal and Asghar Stanikzai (26) added 43 for the fifth wicket before Haq broke through and the lower order didn't offer much resistance.
The last six wickets fell for 39 with Parker claiming two more and Ross Lyons removing Mangal followed by Hassan. That guaranteed Scotland the lead, but a few hours later the momentum was firmly back with Afghanistan as they chase the Intercontinental Cup title in their first year of participation.
"It was a good day for us as the captain and coach put me in to bowl and get the match back for us which I think I helped to do," said Shenwari. "I just think the spin worked for me today, I had to work a little but I managed to pitch it just right and the ball turned for the wicket. I hope that tomorrow I can take two more and make it five."