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Young staves off a dynamic UAE fightback in Malahide

By Ian Callender

Craig Young kept Ireland in control of their Intercontinental Cup match in Malahide with three wickets despite an impressive UAE comeback yesterday.

The visitors reached the halfway point still needing 136 runs to avoid the follow-on with just two wickets standing, but Ireland will have to bowl more consistently today if they are to wrap up maximum points.

And it would appear they will have to do it with a day to spare because, if the weather forecast is to be believed, they will not get much play tomorrow.

UAE resume today on 207 for eight but Ireland could have finished them off last night if they had not persisted with so much short bowling.

John Mooney claimed one wicket, admittedly the big one of Khurram Khan, the former captain caught off his glove at second slip, but otherwise those deliveries accounted for the majority of the 34 boundaries in the innings.

Young, bowling for the first time for Ireland since before the World Cup, enjoyed all his success by pitching the ball up - with two wickets in successive overs, bowling Asif Iqbal and trapping veteran Saqib Ali leg before, and when Amjad Javed misjudged the length his mistimed pull was safely pouched by Mooney.

Until the Bready bowler struck, just 10 minutes before tea, it had been the UAE's day after taking the remaining seven Ireland wickets for just 72 runs. The total of 492 was still their fifth highest and just 32 short of their best at home, but from their overnight position it was still disappointing.

Ed Joyce added just two runs to put 231 (from 232 balls with 29 fours and three sixes) into the record books as the new individual best for Ireland, after 864 games, and when Andrew Balbirnie, Gary Wilson and John Mooney all followed him back to the pavilion inside seven overs, Ireland had lost four wickets for 11 runs.

Kevin O'Brien and George Dockrell - who thanks to a series of 'not outs' averages 62 in first class cricket in the last 12 months - avoided an even more dramatic collapse but Ireland were still all out by lunch as the UAE bowled a much fuller length.

Ireland failed to take note but they should still have enough runs to force victory although not for the first time this year Shaiman Anwar is holding them up.

It was Anwar who scored 106 in the World Cup match between the teams in Brisbane in February and in the penultimate over of the day he reached his 50 in this match.

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