SCOTLAND’S hopes of launching their Intercontinental Cup campaign with a crucial victory were hanging by a thread last night.
Afghanistan snatched the initiative at Stirling after they capitalised on winning the toss and opted to bowl in the wake of a rain delay of almost a day and a half.
Home skipper Preston Mommsen had steadied the ship following a shaky start, but wickets tumbled at regular intervals, leaving the Scots struggling on 227 for eight.
Mommsen struck a dogged 77 before being trapped lbw, with only Hamish Gardiner (46) and Calum MacLeod (38) offering significant support.
The big-stage career of rookie opener Andrew Umeed had begun in disappointing fashion as he was the victim of a dubious caught-behind verdict, the ball from Yamin Ahmadzai appearing to deflect from the pad rather than the bat.
Gardiner was next to depart at the hands of Mohammed Nabi with the tally on 80 – soon followed by Freddie Coleman for only five, held in the deep by Sayed Shirzad, also off Nabi.
MacLeod and Mommsen combined in a bright stand before they perished in quick succession, leaving their side in trouble at 180 for five.
Both scalps were claimed by Samiullah Shenwari, MacLeod nicking to Nowroz Mangal at slip. Even worse was to come when the experienced Richie Berrington became the third lbw victim.
New cap Con de Lange entered the fray, only to throw his wicket away with a rash shot before Safyaan Sharif was lbw for a duck.
With only two days left, Scotland will be banking on a flurry of runs from Matt Cross and the tail before the attack gets to work on the salvage job.