Intercontinental Cup: Scotland have better of day one against Ireland

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien's unbeaten 78 came off 97 balls
Intercontinental Cup, Dubai (day one of four)
Ireland 251: K O'Brien 78*, Whittingham 3-23, Watt 3-60, Sole 3-79
Scotland 37-0
Scotland trail by 214 runs
Scorecard (external site)

Scotland had the better of day one in their Intercontinental Cup game against Ireland as they finished on 37-0 after bowling the Irish out for 251 in Dubai.

Ireland needed an unbeaten 78 from Kevin O'Brien and late runs from tailenders Tim Murtagh (18) and Peter Chase (11) to avoid a dismal total.

Chris Sole, Stuart Whittingham and Mark Watt all took three wickets as Ireland collapsed from 73-1 to 124-6.

Ireland slipped to 166-8 before the late resistance from the tail.

Scotland openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer safely negotiated 10 overs before the close to complete another day of struggles for the Irish.

Ireland struggling as Test debut looms

Ireland, along with Afghanistan, were handed Test status by the International Cricket Council in June but their form has continued on the downward trajectory that it has been on since their impressive showing at the 2015 World Cup.

They will make their Test debut against Pakistan at Malahide in county Dublin next May.

After Paul Stirling's early departure for nine, captain William Porterfield (28) and Andrew Balbirnie (36) and Gary Wilson (21) failed to build on starts.

The departures of George Dockrell and Boyd Rankin left them 166-8 but Middlesex bowler Murtagh hit three fours and number 11 Chase survived 51 balls.

O'Brien's 97-ball innings contained a mix of patience and belligerence as he hit three sixes and six fours after coming to the crease with Ireland on 117-5.

William Porterfield
Ireland collapsed after captain William Porterfield's dismissal

Irish total 'well below par'

The all-rounder said Ireland's total was "well below par considering we got off to a fast start".

He added: "Scotland bowled very well in the second hour of the first session, slowed the run-rate right down and picked up a few wickets to take into lunch.

"Tim Murtagh and Peter Chase did brilliantly to add 85 for the last two wickets."

Following the four-day Intercontinental Cup game, Ireland will face Afghanistan in a three-match one-day series in Sharjah.

Afghanistan hold a 12-point lead over holders Ireland going into the final series of Intercontinental Cup games and will be guaranteed victory in the competition if they beat the UAE in Abu Dhabi after taking a first-innings lead.

Afghanistan dominated the first day of their contest as they reached 321-3.

Cricket Ireland have confirmed that Niall O'Brien will return to the squad for the series against Afghanistan after the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman was allowed to fly home for personal reasons.

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