After a 17 month gap since the end of the last Intercontinental Cup, the premier multi-day event for the ICC's associate and affiliate members resumed today in Windhoek, Namibia, as the hosts took on Hong Kong.
The event has added spice to it this time around, as the winners will take on the lowest ranked full member in the ICC Test Challenge, the winners of which will, apparently, get Test status for an as yet unknown period of time, though the ICC have been rather quiet on the exact details so far.
Namibian captain Nicolaas Scholtz won the toss and chose to bat first against an inexperienced Hong Kong side, playing their first Intercontinental Cup match since 2005 and featuring eight first-class debutants.
But that inexperience didn't show at the start of the game as openers Xander Pitchers and Stephan Baard were both caught behind by Hong Kong captain and former Warwickshire player Jamie Atkinson. But Namibia recovered with Gerhard Erasmus and Raymond van Schoor putting on 101 for the third wicket.
Erasmus fell just short of his fifty when he was the third man out for 49, whilst van Schoor just reached his fifty before he was the fourth man out having scored 52, trapped lbw by Haseeb Amjad, the last of his three wickets today. Hong Kong at this point were bowling tightly, swinging the game back their way as from the dismissal of Erasmus Namibia scored just 11 runs in the following nine overs.
Skipper Nicolaas Scholtz came to the crease at the fall of the fifth wicket and proceeded to get Namibia back on top of the contest, sharing in a 122 run partnership for the sixth wicket with Sarel Burger before Burger was out for 52. Scholtz was unbeaten at the close of play on 83, looking well set for a century soon after the resumption tomorrow morning.
Namibia v Hong Kong - Stumps, Day One
Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek, 10-13 May
Namibia 268-6 (96 overs, N Scholtz 83*, R van Schoor 52, S Burger 52, Haseeb Amjad 3-46)