Scotland 208 (Sheikh 100*, West 7-88) and 71 for 5 need another 227 runs to beat Ireland 202 (Porterfield 77, Haq 5-30, Goudie 4-58) and 303 (Porterfield 118, White 55, Goudie 4-61, Haq 4-88)
A century from Ireland's captain William Porterfield followed by an incisive performance from their bowlers left them poised for victory in their ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture against Scotland in Aberdeen. Porterfield anchored Ireland's second innings with 118 and led his side to 303, setting the hosts 297 for victory. The visiting bowlers then reduced Scotland to 71 for 5 at stumps, drastically reducing the probability of a successful chase at Mannofield Park.
Porterfield was Ireland's best batsman in the first innings, top scoring with 77, and he was needed to rescue them from a collapse once again. Ireland had begun the day on 102 for 3, with Porterfield on 52, but were jolted immediately when Kevin O'Brien was bowled by Majid Haq's first delivery on his overnight score of 5.
At 103 for 4, Ireland's lead was only 97 but they were steadied by a 115-run partnership between Porterfield and Andrew White. Porterfield wasn't as aggressive as he was in the first innings and shots like the airy cut off Haq to the cover-point boundary and a leg-glance against Gordon Drummond were separated by several dot balls. He moved into the nineties by pulling Richie Berrington over midwicket for six before cutting him for four through cover point but had to wait until after lunch to push for his century.
He eventually got to the landmark, off 253 balls, by playing Haq through cover point and, a short while later, White got to his fifty as well. Ireland were steadily taking the upper hand when White edged a ball down leg side off Haq and was caught by the wicketkeeper for 55. It was Haq's fourth wicket, to go with his five in the first innings. Gary Wilson struck three fours in his brisk 19 but was eventually caught at cover off Alasdair Evans.
Scotland had the opportunity they needed to fight back and Gordon Goudie took it. He struck the crucial blow when Porterfield shouldered arms to one he shouldn't have left and lost his off stump. Goudie mopped up the remaining batsmen and finished with 4 for 61 as Ireland were bowled out for 303.
If Scotland were elated at dismissing the Ireland lower order quickly, it was short lived. They lost opener, Fraser Watts, in the second over to Kevin O'Brien, who jagged the ball back to trap the batsman in front. Scotland then found runs hard to come by and their slow progress was worsened when Douglas Lockhart was also lbw after getting hit on the back pad by Andre Botha. There was no revival though as Botha and Regan West struck two more blows to leave Ireland struggling at 39 for 4. And just when it seemed like it couldn't get much worse for the hosts, Ryan Watson was run out shortly before the close of play.