Ireland create history with maiden Test win

Ireland create history with maiden Test win

Abu Dhabi, Mar 1: Ireland secured their first victory in the format since achieving full Test status almost seven years ago.

Ireland’s quest for Test status came to fruition on June 22, 2017, when the ICC confirmed them as Full Members, along with Afghanistan.

Nearly seven years later, Ireland have managed to win a Test on their eighth attempt and the win comes against their former Associate team member.

Interestingly, the two teams had last met in a Test in 2019, and it was Afghanistan, who secured their first win in the format, against Ireland.

Ireland played their first Test in May 2018, almost a year after achieving Test status, against Pakistan. They played two more in 2019 – losing to Afghanistan and England. And played four in 2023, with losses against England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, an ICC report said.

Playing their eighth Test in Abu Dhabi, a one-off encounter, Ireland were put in to bowl by Afghanistan. It was a good toss to lose for the Irish as they rolled over the Afghan batters with a brilliant display.

Mark Adair, in particular, took full advantage of the swinging conditions and registered his first five-wicket haul in Tests. He was ably supported by the pace of Barry McCarthy, Craig Young and Curtis Campher.

If not for the patient opening knock of 53 by Ibrahim Zadran and the resistance shown by Karim Janat (41 not out) towards the end, Afghanistan would have ended up with a much lower first-innings score.

In reply, Ireland stuttered at the beginning before Curtis Campher (49) and Harry Tector (32) stabilised the innings. Despite a brief comeback by Afghanistan, Ireland’s lower middle-order put

up a solid performance, led by mature knocks from Paul Stirling (52), Lorcan Tucker (46) and Andy McBrine (38) helped them post a respectable total, securing a big 108-run lead.

Adair picked up from where he had left off and removed Zadran early before he could inflict any damage. He followed that up with the wicket of Rahmat Shah. Afghanistan’s top and middle order offered a fightback with crucial knocks from captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (55) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) but Adair removed Shahidi and along with McCarthy and Young strangled the scoring rate.

Naveed Zadran (25) managed to delay the inevitable for a while but Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for 218, setting Ireland a target of 111 to win.

Despite a modest target, Afghanistan did not make things easier for Ireland, reducing them to 8/2

and eventually 13/3, thanks to a stunning opening spell from Naveed Zadran and Nijat Masood.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie then combined first with Paul Stirling and then with Tucker, sharing

a half-century stand for the fifth wicket to take Ireland home.

Balbirnie’s unbeaten knock of 58 paved the way for Ireland’s six-wicket win over Afghanistan on Day 3, creating history.

Brief score:

Afghanistan 155, 218

Ireland 263, 111/4


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