Ireland steady after conceding lead
Afghanistan, aided by five top-order half-centuries, grabbed a 69-run first innings lead to continue their strong performance against Ireland at Dambulla. William Porterfield and Gary Wilson's unbroken opening partnership had reduced Ireland's deficit to
Ireland 405 (Porterfield 78, Shenwari 4-75) and 39 for 0 trail Afghanistan 474 (Noori 85, Shahzad 88, White 4-99) by 30 runs
Afghanistan, aided by five top-order half-centuries, grabbed a 69-run first innings lead to continue their strong performance against Ireland at Dambulla. William Porterfield and Gary Wilson's unbroken opening partnership had reduced Ireland's deficit to 30 runs at stumps, but the Afghans still hold a dominant position in this game with one day remaining.
Afghanistan came out this morning in a strong position at 263 for 3 with Shabir Noori and Mohammad Shahzad both well set. They added a further 62 runs to take their partnership to 147 before Shahzad, who had been the more dominant partner, edged Andre Botha through to Niall O'Brien behind the stumps to depart for 88, his highest score yet in three first-class games for Afghanistan. Eight overs later Shabir's dismissal gave Andrew White his first wicket of the innings before Asghar Stanikzai and Mohammad Nabi combined to take Afghanistan past Ireland's first innings effort.
A disciplined bowling display from Ireland this afternoon kept them in the game, as they picked up regular wickets to stall Afghanistan's lower order and keep the lead to a minimum. Botha trapped Samiullah Shenwari lbw before White took over, taking the vital wicket of Mohammad Nabi for 64 before snaring Hameed Hasan and Shapoor Zadran with his offbreaks to wrap up the tail.
Nowroz Mangal rotated his bowlers extensively in the 14 overs of Ireland's second innings possible before stumps, but Porterfield and Wilson successfully negotiated the tricky passage of play. Ireland are not out of this game yet, but they will be hoping for a strong performance from their batsman tomorrow to ensure a draw.