Bowlers put Afghanistan in control despite a defiant half-century from Ireland number 11 Tim Murtagh on the opening day of the one-off Test between the long format’s two new entrants yesterday. Murtagh made an unbeaten 54 to lift Ireland to 172 after they were left tottering at 69 for eight following their decision to bat first in the north Indian city of Dehradun. In reply, Afghanistan were 90 for two at stumps, still trailing Ireland by 82 runs in their first innings.
Rahmat Shah, on 22, and Hashmatullah Shahidi, on 13, were batting at close of play. Left-arm spinner James Cameron-Dow struck twice to get openers Ihsanullah, for seven, and Mohammad Shahzad, for 40.
Earlier Afghanistan bowlers led their team’s charge with paceman Yamin Ahmadzai and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi taking three wickets each to rattle the opposition batting. Ireland were in deep trouble at 85 for nine when Murtagh walked into bat and put on 87 runs with George Dockrell, who made 39, for the 10th wicket to frustrate the Afghanistan attack.
He hit four fours and two sixes during his 75-ball stay to register his 11th first-class 50 and get a standing ovation from the Ireland dressing room. Opener Paul Stirling gave Ireland a brisk start with his 26 but their batting collapsed to 62-7 before lunch.
They were all out at tea with Dockrell the last man out. Nabi combined with wrist spinners Rashid Khan and Waqar Salamkheil – who took two wickets each – to run through Ireland’s top and middle order.
Both sides are playing their second Test after making their five-day debut last year. Afghanistan lost to India inside two days in Bengaluru while Ireland went down to Pakistan in Dublin.
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