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Rashid Khan wickets help put Afghanistan in charge against Ireland

Afsar Zazai produced an unbeaten century and leg-spinner Rashid Khan claimed five wickets as Afghanistan put themselves in control of their Intercontinental Cup clash with Ireland, who still trailed by 367 runs at the end of day two in Greater Noida.

Captain Ashgar Stanikzai pushed his side on towards a commanding first-innings total with 145 while wicket-keeper Zazai added 103 as Afghanistan eventually declared at 537 for eight.

Rashid then set about the Ireland batsmen, finishing the day with five for 54 in his impressive 17-over spell to put Afghanistan on course to complete victory with still two days left to play.

Afghanistan are looking to overtake Ireland at the top of the Intercontinental Cup standings as they aim to secure a chance of earning Test status in a play-off next year.

Resuming at 357 for six, with Stanikzai 110 not out, the captain was eventually dismissed when he was beaten by a turning delivery from George Dockrell and stumped by Niall O'Brien.

Rashid followed when Dockrell took out his off-stump but Zazai, on seven overnight, remained composed as he brought up his century before an immediate declaration while paceman Dawlat Zadran finished 32 not out .

Dockrell ended with three for 160.

When Afghanistan returned to the field, they made an early breakthrough as captain William Porterfield was trapped leg before by Mohammad Nabi in the third over with just six runs on the board.

A 117-run stand between Ed Joyce and Andy Balbirnie looked to have steadied the ship before Zahir Khan had the latter caught at short leg for 62.

Rashid soon trapped Joyce in front of the stumps on 45, which signalled the start of Ireland's collapse as Gary Wilson (four) and O'Brien (17) swiftly followed while Dockrell and Paul Stirling were both out to the leg-spinner for ducks.

John Anderson (10) and Andy McBrine (nought) were at the crease when play finished, with Ireland on 170 for seven from 51 overs and with it all to do to save the match.


From Belfast Telegraph