Ireland beat Afghanistan to claim maiden Test victory

ABU DHABI   -  Ireland finally won their first Test match on Friday when they defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in Abu Dhabi, end­ing a streak of seven successive losses. Captain Andy Balbirnie led from the front with an un­defeated 58 as Ireland reached their modest target of 111 in the final session of the third day. Ireland had played their first Test back in 2018 when they were defeated by Pakistan. Af­ghanistan resumed their second innings Friday on 134-3 before they were dismissed for 218. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi top scored with 55 while Rah­manullah Gurbaz, making his Test debut, hit 46. Mark Adair picked up three wickets to fin­ish with eight for the match. Craig Young and Barry McCar­thy also claimed three apiece. 

Gurbaz, better known for his flamboyant and explosive shot-making in limited overs cricket, clubbed the only two sixes of the innings. Chasing just 111 for victory, Ireland were in trouble with three wickets down for just 13 runs with 18-year-old fast bowler Naveed Zadran clean-bowling opener Peter Moor and Curtis Campher, both without scoring. Balbirnie denied the teenager a hat-trick but Harry Tector was soon caught behind by Gurbaz off Nijat Masood for two. Balbirnie and Paul Stirling, who both played in Ireland’s de­but Test in 2018, briefly stead­ied dressing room nerves.

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