SCOTLAND's hopes of sealing a quick victory in their Intercontinental Cup clash were dashed on a day of frustration in Sharjah.

Having dominated the opening two days against UAE, Gordon Drummond's side went into yesterday's action with a lead of 131 runs.

They still needed eight wickets to avoid batting again and, after dismissing the Arabs for just 100 in their first innings, had designs on a similar rout.

Instead the UAE launched a backs-to-the-wall batting effort that means the match is still in the balance going into the final day, the hosts having gone ahead by 81 runs with three wickets in hand.

Coach Pete Steindl said: "It's been a really hard day but the guys have stuck to their task.

"The UAE enjoyed the best of things in the first half of the day but we came back strongly and left the field with a spring in our step.

"There is still a long way to go and the guys will sleep well tonight and hopefully we can get over the line tomorrow."

The tone was set in the morning session when the Saltires managed a solitary breakthrough, Majid Haq claiming the wicket of night-watchman Ahmed Raza.

Raza's dogged rearguard action had lasted for 68 balls during which time he eeked out 21 runs including four boundaries.

His partnership with Arshad Ali was worth a valuable 45 runs but the Scots still had a measure of control especially with the excellent Haq conceding just five runs in ten overs during a tense morning session.

However, Raza's dismissal meant that Arshad had a specialist partner in Saqib Ali, a man with a First Class average of 54, and the pair served-up a 96-run stand that put their side in the lead.

Neither batsman took any risks while the Scottish bowlers struggled to create genuine dismissal chances.

Arshad's long vigil was finally brought to an end by debutant Freddie Coleman's safe catch, giving Haq a deserved second wicket.

The UAE batsman had faced 237 deliervies for his 71 runs which included eight boundaries.

Reaching tea at 221-4, the home side enjoyed a lead of 16 runs and looked in a good position to stretch their advantage as a long day in the field began to take its toll on Scotland.

They did just that with Saqib going on to stroke a painstaking 76 as the lead grew ominously.

However, the new ball proved crucial for in the closing overs of the day as Gordon Goudie struck three times to put the Scots firmly back in contention.

He claimed the wickets of Khurram Khan and Amjad Ali in one over and then took the prize scalp of Saqib at the death.

Steindl added: "These wickets at the end could prove vital because it had been a long hard slog all day.

"There were spells when UAE threatened to get away from us but Majid and Drummo put the brakes on when they bowled in tandem in the heat of the day.

"The ball is still new so hopefully we can take their final three wickets quickly and get the job done but we know it won't be easy."