ICC Intercontinental Cup: Ireland made to battle by Hong Kong at Stormont

William Porterfield acknowledges applause after reaching his 50 at Stormont
William Porterfield was one of Nadeem Ahmed's four victims on day one at Stormont
ICC Intercontinental Cup, Stormont (day one of four)
Ireland 316: Wilson 95, Porterfield 88; T Afzal 4-63, N Ahmed 4-73
Hong Kong 2-0
Scorecard (external site)

Ireland had to battle on day one of the Intercontinental Cup game against Hong Kong as the home side were dismissed for 316 with the visitors 2-0 in reply.

After winning the toss at Stormont, Irish skipper William Porterfield hit 88 before falling to Nadeem Ahmed, who took four wickets.

Gary Wilson was also denied a century as he was the last man out for 95.

Ireland have won their first three Intercontinental Cup games as they aim to maintain their push for Test status.

Victory in the four-game day will move the Irish above current table leaders Afghanistan with the winners in the eight-nation competition going on to face the bottom-ranked Test nation in 2018 for the right to earn Test cricket.

Porterfield and Ed Joyce put on 53 for the opening wicket before the Sussex veteran became the first of Tanwir Afzal's four dismissals.

Niall O'Brien (14), John Anderson (13) and Paul Stirling (20) were all dismissed after getting starts to leave Ireland on 156-4.

After Porterfield's departure, Kevin O'Brien was out for only six but Wilson and George Dockrell put on 65 for the seventh wicket in the best partnership of the Irish innings.

Ireland leave out McCarthy and McBrine

Spinner Dockrell and Craig Young had both been named in the Irish bowling attack with Barry McCarthy and Andy McBrine losing out.

Dockrell was dismissed by Afzal for 32 but Tim Murtagh (10) stayed sufficiently long with Wilson to nudge the Irish innings over the 300 mark.

After Murtagh's dismissal and Craig Young's quick departure, Wilson was down to his last partner and as he chased his century, he edged to wicketkeeper Chris Carter.

In reply, Hong Kong had to negotiate seven overs before the close but Ninad Shah and Aizad Khan both survived as the visitors reached 2-0.

With McCarthy left out of the starting XI, he has been released to play for Durham in their County Championship match against Nottinghamshire which begins on Wednesday.

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