Hong Kong attack produce stirring fightback after batsmen fail to fire Even Shylock's scale wouldn't have been able to weigh the advantage at the end of the opening day of the three-day encounter in the ICC Intercontinental Cup between Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates yesterday. A total of 17 wickets fell on an eventful day leaving the game hanging deliciously in the balance. But Hong Kong will rue the fact that once again their batsmen let them down, after skipper Tim Smart won the toss and elected to bat. Poor batting threw away the advantage of first use of a track which, already keeping low, will only get worse to bat on as the days go by. Hong Kong were bowled out for a paltry 127. But there was much-needed encouragement at the end of the day thanks to bowlers Ilyas Gull and Khalid Khan, who grabbed five of the seven wickets to fall as the UAE finished on 126 for seven at the close. 'We are back in the game. It was an excellent comeback after a very poor batting display. We batted too defensively. When a little bit of aggression was needed, the guys curbed their shots,' said Hong Kong coach Robin Singh. 'A score of 180 or 190 would have been very good on this wicket.' Apart from Adam Gunthorpe and Gull, the rest of the batsmen failed to reach double figures, and showed that the blight which has struck the SAR batting in recent years is still around. Gunthorpe was in fine touch, hitting three sweet fours. But he was deceived by one that turned in and bowled for 38, leaving Hong Kong 68 for five. 'Adam batted very well and was a little bit unfortunate. If he had carried on after lunch, we would have reached 200. But apart from him and Ilyas, the rest of the batting was poor,' said Singh. Singh was more than satisfied with the way the Hong Kong attack fought back. The comeback was sparked by two early wickets to left-arm paceman Khalid Khan who claimed opener Asghar Ali leg-before with the third ball of his first over, and then in his next over, bowled Fahad Usman off the inside edge. UAE dangerman and leading run-getter in the Fast Track Countries Tournament, Arshad Ali, was deceived by Afzaal Haider and gave Gunthorpe an easy catch in the covers. Left-hander Khuram Khan and vice-captain Syed Maqsood put on 68 for the fourth wicket before they were parted. Gull, coming in to bowl for the first time, immediately made an impression by grabbing the wickets of both batsmen. Gull turned the screws on tighter when he held on to a stinging return catch from Sameer Zia and with left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed claiming skipper Mohammed Tauqir leg before, the UAE were 112 for seven. 'At the moment, the UAE hold the psychological edge over Hong Kong as they have beaten us every time we have played them in the past. But they too are frail and can be put under pressure. If we can get them out quickly tomorrow, we have a good chance of winning this match,' said Singh. The goal is to wrap up the UAE first innings as soon as possible and to then set the hosts a target of at least 200 to win, Singh said.