Ireland have seized the initiative on day two of their Intercontinental Cup clash against Hong Kong at Stormont after William Porterfield’s men bowled the visitors out for 237 just before the close to earn themselves a 79-run first-innings lead in the four-day contest.
Craig Young gave the hosts the perfect start as Hong Kong resumed on their overnight score of 2 without loss; the Bready pace bowler claiming the wickets of Aizah Khan and skipper Babar Hyatt in the space of three deliveries in just the third over of the morning.
To be fair the visitors rallied well after that setback as Ninad Shah and Nisakat Khan then set about repairing the damage. The pair posted a century stand before both fell in quick succession; a pattern that was to be repeated throughout the day.
Shah hit 5 fours in his patient, 141-ball 38 while Khan found the rope 8 times on his way to a battling 69.
Waqaz Khan and Anshuman Rath reduced the arrears still further as they added 64 but once again it was to be a case of two wickets falling together as Waqaz (27) and new man Christopher Carter (0) were dismissed by Peter Chase and Paul Stirling respectively.
Rath battled on manfully but Ireland were now on the scent and the hosts went double yet again soon after with George Dockrell tempting Tanwir Afzal into a rush of blood and an easy stumping for Niall O’Brien while Chase trapped Ehsan Khan dead in front in the next over.
At 211-8 the home side were well on top and eyeing the 6 bonus points for a first innings lead that would take them back to the top of the table. And despite Rath’s resistance, they didn’t have long to wait as Dockrell tidied it up with the wickets of Nadseem and Tanvir before the scheduled close.
Dockrell (3-46) and Chase (3-50) fared best of the attack although Young also got through plenty of work for his 2-64.
Rath was unbeaten on 73 (7 fours) at the end, an excellent effort in the circumstances, but Ireland now have something to build on when they start on Thursday at 11am with that 79-run advantage.
At Stormont- Intercontinental Cup (Day 2 of 4)
Ireland 316 all out (86.1 overs, G Wilson 95, W Porterfield 88, G Dockrell 32, E Joyce 26, P Stirling 20, T Afzal 4-63, N Ahmed 4-73)
Hong Kong 237 all out (101.4 overs; A Rath 73*, N Khan 69, N Shah 38, W Khan 27, G Dockrell 3-46, P Chase 3-50, C Young 2-64)