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Ireland pointing path towards Test showdown

By Ian Callender

Hong Kong kept Ireland in the field for more than 100 overs but the Intercontinental Cup holders secured a first-innings lead of 79 to regain top spot in the table which will decide which team goes through to the Test Match challenge in 2018.

The job is only half done - Ireland's next target is to complete outright victory in the remaining two days and make it maximum points from the first four of seven games.

But it was a satisfied Ireland camp last night which ultimately got the better of an obdurate Hong Kong side who were comfortable in defence - opener Ninad Shah's 38 came off 141 balls - but never threatened to challenge Ireland's total.

The classic example was when Tanwir Afzal decided to charge down the wicket at George Dockrell, missed and wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien did the rest. It was a first wicket for Dockrell in his 22nd over, but it was the confidence boost the slow left-armer needed and he wrapped up the innings with two more wickets.

The most impressive bowler was Craig Young, who was consistently quick and at times hostile, and was unlucky not to add to his two wickets in three balls in the third over of the day.

Peter Chase ended the most entertaining innings, Nisakat Khan's 69, and deserved his three wickets, while Paul Stirling's 13 overs proved that it was a mistake for Ireland to leave out No.1 off spinner, Andy McBrine.

Belfast Telegraph


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