Ireland are just one wicket away from clinching a convincing win against the UAE after the third day of their ICC InterContinental Cup clash at Malahide.
Despite claiming an extra half-hour in an attempt to wrap up the game inside three days, the Irish fell agonisingly short as the UAE finished proceedings on 251 for nine in their second innings - still needing another 28 runs to make Ireland bat again.
Resuming the day on 207 for eight, the last two UAE first innings wickets just added a further six runs, with Craig Young (4-51) and George Dockrell (3-48) claiming the wickets.
Dockrell’s dismissal of Majula Guruge was courtesy of a catch by skipper William Porterfield – his 100th for Ireland.
Porterfield enforced the follow-on with the visitors 279 runs adrift, and left-arm spinner Dockrell was again very much to the fore as he dismissed openers Amjad Ali (28) and Asif Iqbal (12) before the lunch break.
Khurram Khan (10) fell to a sharp slip catch by Ed Joyce off Paul Stirling just after the interval, to leave the Emiratis struggling on 65 for 3.
Swapnil Patil and Saqib Ali – who scored 195 against Ireland in this competition in 2008 – then battened down the hatches to frustrate the Irish attack.
Patil struck 10 boundaries in a determined 63 from 110 balls, sharing a century stand with the obdurate Ali, spread over 231 deliveries.
It was Dockrell who broke their resistance, having Patil smartly stumped by Gary Wilson after a rush of blood saw him charge down the pitch.
Shaiman Anwar (0) fell with no addition to the score, Dockrell (4-93) again the successful bowler, with Andrew Balbirnie taking a sharp chance at short-leg.
The second new ball saw Tim Murtagh (1-22 from 16 overs) take his first wicket of the match, as Fayyaz Ahmed edged behind to Gary Wilson. Four balls later Craig Young ended Ali’s 207 ball occupation of the crease, as Kevin O’Brien held a sharp chance at second slip - the total at the stage 188 for 7.
Young then trapped Mohammed Tauqir (8), while Paul Stirling (2-31) claimed an lbw verdict against Amjad Javed (36) with just 12 balls remaining in the day.
Play continues Friday at 11am.