Two emerging cricketing nations Ireland and Afghanistan who recently got their Test status got a chance to rub shoulder against each other in the only Test which is being currently in progress at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uttarakhand. Following the opening day’s play, it was hosts Afghanistan playing in their adopted home who finished the opening day’s play on a high.
It was Irish skipper William Porterfield who won the toss and opted to bat. The visiting team got off to a steady start as openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling shared an impressive 37 runs stand in 8 overs. However just as the Irish openers were making things difficult for Afghanistan, it was Yamin Ahmadzai who provided Afghans with the first breakthrough in the form of Paul Stirling’s wicket.
The fast bowler added one more in no time while Mohammed Nabi bagged the prized wicket of Porterfield. Ireland could never get going and kept losing wickets on a consistent basis. Mohammad Nabi was the wrecker in chief in the early stages along with Ahmadzai. Both bowled brilliantly and was also backed up by the sensational spinner Rashid Khan.
Ireland would have been bowled out without reaching the 100 mark but some of the lower order batsmen had some other ideas. George Dockrell and No 11 batsman Tim Murtagh shared a brilliant 93 runs partnership for the final wicket to take Ireland to 172 runs.
No 11 Murtagh scored a breezy 54 of 75 deliveries which included 4 fours and a couple of sixes. While Yamin Ahmadzai and Mohammad Nabi bagged 3 wickets each, Rashid Khan also bagged a couple of important wickets.
Hosts Afghanistan needed to get off to a good start to secure a sizeable lead and put the oppositions under pressure. Ihsanullah Janat was dismissed by James Cameron after an opening partnership of 27 runs with wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shehzad. The heavily built small man looked in good touch and scored 40 of 64 deliveries which included 6 fours and a six. He was eventually dismissed by the same bowler. Eventually, Afghanistan finished the day’s play on 91/2. Rahmat Shah is at the crease with Hashmatullah Shahidi.
Performers of the day
Tim Murtagh was the star performer for Ireland. Known for his bowling skills, he came in handy batting at No 11. He top scored with a brilliant 54 of 75 deliveries. George Dockrell also scored a supporting 39 of 100 deliveries. For Afghanistan, Mohammad Nabi and Yamin Ahmadzai bagged three wickets each and were the top performers of the day for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan also backed them up well with a couple.