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July 12, 2012
Afghanistan 84 and 208 for 7 (Ahmadi 59, Stanikzai 51*) drew with Ireland 251 for 4 dec (Wilson 73, White 62*)
The Ireland-Afghanistan Intercontinental Cup match in Dublin, which lost two days to rain, ended in a draw. Afghanistan, facing the possibility of an innings defeat, batted out 67 overs on the final day for the loss of seven wickets - a commendable effort after they were routed for 84 in the first innings - to ensure the draw.
Ireland had begun the day on 126 for 2 in their first innings, already 42 ahead of Afghanistan. Alex Cusack was out early, but Gary Wilson pushed on to get to a half-century. He made 73 at a good clip, and was supported by Andrew White, who scored an unbeaten 62. The pair stretched Ireland's lead to 167, before captain Kevin O'Brien declared the innings closed on 251 for 4.
Afghanistan were strong in reply. The openers, captain Karim Sadiq and Javed Ahmadi, put on 106. Sadiq fell just short of a half-century, but Ahmadi - who was recently named Afghanistan's Under-19 captain for August's World Cup - got to his third first-class 50. The No. 3 batsman, Asghar Stanikzai, also came good. He saw Afghanistan past the mark required to avoid an innings defeat and on to the close of play, remaining unbeaten on 51. After the early resistance, Ireland struck with regularity, but there still wasn't enough time to force a result.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?