Ireland Aiming for First Test Win in Face-off with Resilient Afghanistan

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Starting at 100-4 in their first innings, Ireland, trailing Afghanistan by 55 runs, managed to reach a total of 263 all out, securing a lead of 108 runs. Although Afghanistan stumbled to 38-2, a potential two-day finish was averted. Despite the loss of Noor Ali Zadran at 32, the partnership of captain Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmanullah Gurbaz remained unbroken, guiding the hosts to 134-3.

There was pressure but I kept it calm and simple… Because as a captain you have to lead by example,” Shahidi said after ending the day 53 not out, his second Test fifty.

“Last two Tests my performance was not good but today I felt good… Tomorrow is a big day for us. We have to win the first session to be in the mix.

Ireland faced a challenge at 106-5 when Harry Tector was dismissed by Naveed Zadran. However, Paul Stirling’s 52, along with a partnership of 80 runs with Lorcan Tucker (46), boosted their position. Andy McBrine contributed a useful 38 before being the last man out. Left-arm spinner Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar claimed 5-64 in 30 overs. Irish seamer Mark Adair, following his five-wicket haul in the first innings, took crucial wickets. Ibrahim Zadran was caught brilliantly by Peter Moor, and Rahmat Shah nicked behind to Tucker. Despite a steady rebuild by Noor Ali Zadran and Shahidi, the veteran opener was bounced out by Barry McCarthy. Test debutant Rahmanullah counter-attacked with two sixes in his unbeaten 23. Afghanistan, having played their first Test in 2018 like Ireland, aim for their fourth victory if they can set a challenging run chase on a pitch showing signs of significant turn.

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