Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan said his team has the composure to achieve success in the longest format of the sport after they defeated Ireland by seven wickets on Monday to register their first-ever Test victory. Report | Highlights
Afghan credited his team and cricket fans back in the country for their support after the historic win. Afghanistan’s maiden Test victory comes less than two years after they were awarded the Test status by the International Cricket Council.
Afghanistan didn’t have a memorable Test debut as they faced an innings and 262-run defeat to India in Bengaluru last year. However, they came up with an improved effort to outclass Ireland at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Dehradun over the last four days.
“Happy. It’s a historic day for Afghanistan, for our team and our people, We have been playing for a while, we have been playing first-class cricket, so we have that composure,” Asghar Afghan said.
Stressing their next goal is to prepare well for the 2019 World Cup, Afghan added: “The bowlers were very good, Rashid [Khan], Yamin [Ahmadzai]. Now, we are going to South Africa for World Cup preparation. We will try our best to play good cricket.
ICC (@ICC) March 18, 2019
Afghanistan’s memorable win was set up by superstar leg-spinner Rashid Khan and top-order batsman Rahmat Shah, who missed an opportunity to become the country’s first-ever Test centurion in the first innings. While Rashid picked up a five-wicket haul in the second innings, Shah scored 98 and 76 as Afghanistan came up with an all-round effort in Dehradun.
Rahmat had struggled to get going in the recently-concluded five-match ODI series but the 25-year-old showcased his class with two crucial knocks for Afghanistan in the Test match.
Speaking after the win, Rahmat said: “First of all I’d like to congratulate the country for this win. There was a difference in the pitches – the ODI wickets was suitable for spin, this was better for batting. We played session by session and tried to win the match that way. I would like to give credit to the bowlers, they played really well.”
Meanwhile, Ireland captain William Porterfield pointed out that the ordinary performance with the bat in the first innings hurt them in the Test. Notably, Ireland have lost the two Tests they have played so far.
Ireland were bundled out for 172 in the first innings despite Porterfield winning the toss and opting to bat. No. 11 batsman Tim Murtagh was the top-scorer for the visitors in the first innings as he scored a 75-ball 54.
“It was obviously going to be a tough ask defending 150. It was the first innings where it went wrong for us. At the time, winning the toss was big, Any multi-day game, we had to capitalise in the first innings. If we’d done how we’d done in the second innings then, it could have been a completely different game. But credit to Afghanistan, they outplayed us,” Porterfield added.