The Intercontinental Cup match between Namibia and Canada was nicely balanced as it reached the half-way point on Friday evening, with the Canadians, on 233 for four, still needing 98 to avoid the follow-on.

Their innings had begun shakily as they set out in pursuit of Namibia's formidable total of 480 for nine, after a morning of broken records and a splendid undefeated innings of 163 not out, made in six and a half hours with 17 fours and one six, from captain Bjorn Kotze.

This was Namibia's highest individual score in the competition's history, and the total was also a new national record, as well as being the largest score conceded by Canada in the four years of Intercontinental Cup games.

Kotze was well supported, first by wicketkeeper Tobias Verwey, who contributed 61 in a record seventh-wicket partnership of 100, and then by Bernie Burger, who made 47 as he and Kotze added 88 for the eighth, another Namibian record. Both Verwey and Burger were removed by Sunil Dhaniram, the most successful of the Canadian bowlers on Friday with three for 58.

Durand Soraine was unable to add to his three-wicket haul from the first day, finishing with three for 74.

The home side piled on the runs for nine overs after lunch before declaring, and then Louis Klazinga struck twice in his first four overs to have Canada reeling on 33 for two.

But opener Mohammad Iqbal was still there, and he and Qaiser Ali set about restoring the situation with a 50-run stand. Ian van Zyl then had Ali caught by his skipper, and Arvind Kandappah joined Iqbal.

Aided by some indifferent catching from the Namibians, this pair added 149 for the fourth wicket as Kotze tried nine different bowlers looking for the breakthrough; but the home side pulled off the final twist of the day when Kandappah was dismissed for 60 off the bowling of Michael Durandt.

With Iqbal not out on 119 overnight, his runs coming having come off 156 balls with 19 fours and a six, Canada will hope to get a better start on Saturday morning, looking first to avoid the follow-on and then thinking about the possibility of first-innings points.

Namibia, on the other hand, know that early wickets would not only make a first-innings lead virtually certain, but would also give them a good chance of pushing for outright victory. The pre-lunch session on Saturday will be the fulcrum around which this match turns.