Ireland denied early victory by defiant Sharif

Late breakthrough leaves home side two wickets away from win

Ireland batsman Kevin O’Brien launches a six during the  Intercontinental Cup match against Scotland at Castle Avenue. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland batsman Kevin O’Brien launches a six during the Intercontinental Cup match against Scotland at Castle Avenue. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Fri, Sep 13, 2013, 20:09

A defiant knock of 60 from Scottish lower order batsman Safyaan Sharif denied Ireland victory inside three days in the side’s Intercontinental Cup clash at Castle Avenue in Clontarf on Friday.

Ireland looked well set to seal the game with over a day to spare after Scotland collapsed to 41 for six in their second innings needing 212 to make Ireland bat again after the home side had made 350 in their first innings.

Max Sorensen did all the damage with the new ball, taking the first four wickets to fall in a brilliant spell, before a wicket from Craig Young and two from Graeme McCarter left Scotland in disarray on 64 for seven.

Sharif, who had also scored late runs in the first of the World Cup qualifiers between the sides, joined Majid Haq at the wicket and the pair showed the top order how to do it as they added 79 runs for the eighth wicket.

William Porterfield tried nearly all his bowling options to break the partnership, but in the end a fantastic piece of fielding from the Ireland skipper played a part in ending Sharif’s innings.

Having taken the extra half hour in a bid to obtain a result, Porterfield was told by the umpires that seamer Young would not be allowed to bowl the final over due to the fading light.

Porterfield threw the ball to leg-spinner John Anderson and his third delivery was fended into the covers where the captain took a stunning one-handed catch to his left to leave Scotland on 143 for eight and still requiring 69 runs to make Ireland bat a second time.

Ireland’s first innings was a tale of batsmen failing to push on after getting off to good starts. Paul Stirling (65) and Anderson (56) both scored half-centuries, while Kevin O’Brien (45) and Andrew Balbirnie (38) also made solid contributions without really making it count.

Scotland’s spinners took advantage, with Haq and leg-spinner Moneeb Iqbal claiming four wickets apiece.

Play will start at 10.0am on Saturday, with Ireland looking to add the 14 points for a win to the six they claimed for a first-innings lead.