AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND IN INDIA 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Rashid picked up two wickets for five runs. © BCCI
Everything seemed to be going normally, you know, following the rulebook Tests in India are supposed to. Ireland won the toss on a typical dustbowl, opted to bat, and smashed the new ball around, to go at over a run-a-ball in the first six overs.
But what followed was a collapse so stunning, with seven wickets falling in session – five of them in five overs at one stage – as the poor Irish succumbed to spin.
Paul Stirling took a liking for Ahmadzai’s medium pace, smashing him for three boundaries in an over, but it’s the same aggression that eventually brought about his downfall, looking to drive away from his body to a delivery that could very well have been left alone. Alas, it wasn’t, and the edge was. Porterfield, his partner, couldn’t last longer either, playing all around a pretty straight delivery off Mohammad Nabi and getting squared up and trapped plumb in the crease in the very next over.
If it was Ahmadzai’s away-seamer that got rid of Stirling, it was the in-nipper that ripped through Andy Balbirnie’s defence to clean him up. Skipper Asghan Afghan wasted no further time in bringing on his trump card, Rashid Khan into the attack, and he struck gold in his first over, twice.
A wrong ‘un off his first delivery was good enough to render James McCollum a torrid debut, whizzing right through his defence to clean him up. Stuart Poynter, the next man in, seemed confident blocking his first ball, but missed out on a juicy full toss on his pads next, for the umpire to succumb to a loud LBW appeal, with replays suggesting the drift to perhaps be missing leg.
It fell down to the experienced heads of Kevin O’Brien and Stuart Thompson to arrest the slide. They did shut shop for six overs, blocking everything that came their way watchfully, with spin – Nabi’s this time – returning to torment, sending both of them back in consecutive overs, compounding their troubles further.
Brief scores: Ireland 69-7 (Paul Stirling 26, Kevin O’Brien 12; Mohammad Nabi 3-6, Rashid Khan 2-5) vs Afghanistan.