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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019
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Ireland rue nightmare start as Afghanistan claim historic Test victory

Graham Ford’s side battled valiantly in Dehradun but had left themselves with too much damage to repair.

Andrew Balbirnie continued his good form with the bat but it wasn't enough for Ireland.
Andrew Balbirnie continued his good form with the bat but it wasn't enough for Ireland.
Image: Cricket Ireland

AFGHANISTAN CLAIMED A historic first Test win as they saw out victory over Ireland by seven wickets this morning. 

Rahmat Shah and Ihsanullah Janat scored half-centuries for Afghanistan as they chased down 147 for victory on day four in Dehradun, India.

Afghanistan were steered to their target by a 139-run partnership between Shah, who made 76, and debutant Janat, who hit an unbeaten 65.

Shah, a top-order batsman, registered his second fifty of the match after making 98 in Afghanistan’s first innings score of 314.

With three needed to win, Afghanistan lost Shah and then Mohammad Nabi in successive deliveries before Hashmatullah Shahidi came to the crease and hit the winning boundary to trigger celebrations in the Afghanistan camp.

Ace spinner Rashid Khan, who is second in the ICC one-day international rankings, had played a key role in the historic win by taking five wickets on Sunday’s day three to help dismiss Ireland for 288 in their second innings.

Khan returned career-best figures of five for 82 to stall Ireland’s resurgence after Andy Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien had hit gritty half-centuries.

Balbirnie made 82 and O’Brien 56 before a 10th-wicket 58-run partnership between James Cameron-Dow and Tim Murtagh set up the potentially tricky chase for the Afghans.

Spinner Andy McBrine had opener Mohammad Shahzad caught behind for two in the final session on day three before Janat and Shah played out the last few overs.

The overnight batsmen were tested by the Ireland bowlers early in Monday’s morning session with Janat surviving a reprieve on 18.

Stuart Thompson spilled an easy catch at extra cover off George Dockrell and Janat cashed in alongside the in-form Shah.

Paceman Yamin Ahmadzai and spinner Mohammad Nabi took three wickets each on the opening day to bowl out Ireland for 172.

For Ireland, Tim Murtagh stood out with scores of 54 not out and 27 batting at number 11 — but the wait for a first Test victory goes on after defeats to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“It was obviously going to be a tough ask today defending 147, but it was the first innings where it went wrong for us,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said.

I thought at the time that winning the toss was a big toss to win, and any multi-day game you have to capitalise in the first innings. If we had done that, if we had batted remotely like we did in the second innings in that first innings, then I think it could have been a completely different game.

“Instead you would have been then chasing a score upward of 280 or 300, which would have been a completely different story. But take nothing away from Afghanistan and how they played, they played well throughout the game and came out deserved winners.”

Porterfield added: “This was our second Test, with five lads making their debut, but I’m very happy with the lads that came in, how they went about the game and how they prepared.

“You obviously want them to kick on and make big contributions — we just didn’t do that in the first innings and from there you’re always looking at coming back into the game from there. However, Afghanistan never let us do that, so you have to give congratulations to them.”

Ireland are next in action against England in a One-Day International at Malahide on Friday 3 May.  

Match scorecard:

  • Ireland 172 (60 overs; T Murtagh 54*, G Dockrell 39; Y Ahmadzai 3-41, M Nabi 3-36)
  • Afghanistan 314 (106.3 overs; R Shah 98, A Afghan 67, H Shahidi 61; S Thompson 3-28)
  • Ireland 288 (93 overs; A Balbirnie 82, K O’Brien 56; R Khan 5-66, Y Ahmadzai 3-52)
  • Afghanistan 149-3 (47.5 overs; R Shah 76, Ihsanullah 65*; J Cameron-Dow 1-24, A McBrine 1-35)

Afghanistan won by 7 wickets

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