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Momentum shift – Day 2

Seesawing contest as Afghanistan fight back in Test against Ireland

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – The one-off Test between Afghanistan Men and Ireland Men remained finely poised at the end of day two, with the hosts squeezing out a 26-run second innings lead, with seven wickets in hand.

Resuming day two on 100-4 and just 55-runs behind Afghanistan’s first innings total earlier in the day, Ireland lost Harry Tector in the fifth over of the morning trapped in front. Fellow overnight batter Paul Stirling and Lorcan Tucker soon settled things down, though, expertly combining to take Ireland beyond their hosts.

The pair contributed an 80-run stand for the sixth-wicket, even as the pitch started to take increasing turn from the Afghan spinners. Ultimately, it was spin that eventually brought an end to Stirling’s excellent knock. In the final over before lunch, Stirling swotted Zahir Khan to the boundary for his seventh four of the innings, moving to 52 from 89 deliveries in the process. But, just two balls later, Khan got one to dip and turn, the off-spinner beating Stirling between bat and pad to bowl the 33-year-old right-hander.

Tucker remained unbeaten on 32 at the end of the morning session, and Ireland took a promising 31-run advantage into the break thanks to what was a new highest sixth-wicket stand for the country in Tests.

Tucker eventually fell for 46 after the break but valuable contributions from Andy McBrine (38) and Mark Adair (15) helped Ireland to a total of 263, which carved out a first innings lead of 108 by the time they were bowled out at Tea. Zia-ur-Rehman was the pick of the Afghan bowlers, closing out the innings with figures of 5-64.

The hero on day one with his 5-39, Adair continued his fine form in the Test by dismissing both Ibrahim Zadran (12) and Rahmat Shah (9) inside the first nine overs of Afghanistan’s innings to give Ireland another perfect start with the ball.

In response, Noor Ali Zadran (32) and Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi provided a crucial partnership for the third-wicket. The pair had put on 55, and looked to be cruising to the close, until Test debutant Barry McCarthy managed to get one to lift and take Zadran’s edge, presenting Adair with an easy catch at gully.

Despite Ireland’s best efforts they were unable to make any further inroads late in the day. Instead, Hashmatullah (53*) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (23*) took Afghanistan to 134-3 at the close, boasting a lead of 26 going into day three.


Afghanistan v Ireland, 1st Test, Day 2, Tolerance Oval, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — 29 February 2024

Afghanistan 1st innings 155 (54.5 overs; I Zadran 54; M Adair 5-39, C Campher 2-13, C Young 2-31) 
Ireland 1st innings 263 (83.4 overs; P Stirling 52, C Campher 49, L Tucker 46; Z ur-Rahman 5-64)
Afghanistan 2nd innings 134-3 (37 overs; H Shahidi 53*; M Adair 2-23, B McCarthy 1-25) 

See full scorecard

key points
  • Afghanistan end the day with 25 run lead
  • Paul Stirling registers first Test half-century
  • Mark Adair claims two wickets early