RESULT
Only Test, Tolerance Oval, February 28 - March 01, 2024, Afghanistan vs Ireland
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155 & 218
(T:111) 263 & 111/4

Ireland won by 6 wickets

Player Of The Match
5/39 & 3/56
mark-adair
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Adair rips through Afghanistan to give Ireland opening-day honours

Curtis Campher and Herry Tector then led the charge with the bat to put Ireland in a strong position by the end of the day

Himanshu Agrawal
28-Feb-2024
Mark Adair struck twice in the first session and ended with five for the innings  •  ACB

Mark Adair struck twice in the first session and ended with five for the innings  •  ACB

Ireland 100 for 4 (Campher 49, Tector 32*, Zia-ur-Rehman 2-13, Naveed 2-32) trail Afghanistan 155 (Ibrahim 53, Janat 41*, Adair 5-39, Campher 2-13, Young 2-31) by 55 runs
A Test match had never been played at Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi before, so the conditions were a bit of an unknown for both Afghanistan and Ireland. Even then, neither side could have expected so much sharp, conventional swing, until a stage when reverse swing became a bigger factor. There was movement on offer off the pitch, too. Add to that the accuracy of Ireland's quick bowlers, led by Mark Adair, and all ten Afghanistan wickets fell inside 55 overs.
Hashmatullah Shahidi had opted to bat under a bright and sunny sky, hoping for spin to play a part when they would bowl in the fourth innings of the Test. But, by the end of day one, Afghanistan were only 55 ahead, with six Ireland wickets remaining.
Ireland's third-wicket pair of Curtis Campher and Harry Tector added 60 after they were 32 for 2 in the tenth over. Afghanistan themselves were 11 for 2 after seven overs. Ibrahim Zadran and Shahidi had repaired their innings with a 55-run stand, which was broken when Shahidi tickled one down leg off one of Ireland's three debutants, Brian McCarthy.
Ibrahim and Afghanistan's only debutant, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, then added 22 more.
But at 86 for 3 just after lunch, the wheels started to come off for Afghanistan. And the trigger was pressed by Adair, who had already picked up two out of the three wickets until then. The first of those had come in the third ball of the seventh over when Adair had Noor Ali Zadran nicking to second slip.
Two deliveries later, Ireland reviewed when an lbw shout by Adair against Rahmat Shah went against them, only for replays to show the ball missing leg. But next ball, Adair cleaned Rahmat up for a duck, when a length ball angled in and straightened to find the gap between bat and pad. Adair also struck in the second over after lunch, having Gurbaz bottom edge one to the wicketkeeper.
Two of Adair's other victims were Zia-ur-Rehman, who flashed one to second slip to end a stay of more misses than hits, and Zahir Khan, for whom Adair perhaps reserved his best of the lot. Coming from around the wicket to the left-hander, Adair landed one on a length around off, and got the ball to straighten to hit the top of off.
Adair's five-for aside, debutant Craig Young and Campher picked up two wickets each. The most important of those was that of Ibrahim, who, like his captain Shahidi, ended up clipping down the leg side for a catch to the wicketkeeper. Until then, he had scored 53 of the 90 runs on the board. His departure gave Young his second wicket after he had bowled Nasir Jamal for a duck.
Campher, meanwhile, helped clean the tail up, striking twice in the 50th over after Naveed Zadran had frustrated Ireland for 42 balls.
Andy Balbirnie got a life in the second over when Rahmat dropped a simple catch off Naveed at gully. But Naveed ended his stay in his next over, pinning him in front. Balbirnie's review proved to be futile as ball-tracking confirmed that the ball would have hit the middle of leg. Campher came in at No. 3 after that early blow and had a big role to play in how the day panned out.
More luck was due for Ireland except that they couldn't capitalise. Peter Moor, Ireland's other opening batter, was playing only his second Test for his adopted country. He had managed only 10 and 11 in his first, and when on 10 in the sixth over, he was cleaned up by Naveed by one that came back in sharply from outside off. But halfway to the pavilion, he was called back because Naveed's front foot had crossed the line.
And off the final legal delivery of the sixth over, Moor - still on 10 - was ruled out lbw but he used the DRS to reverse the decision. But he couldn't make it count as he chopped Naveen on to his stumps for 12 in the tenth over.
That is when Campher and Tector joined hands. Runs came at a steady pace for Ireland, with Campher leading the way. He hit 25 off his first 17 balls, including five boundaries. Tector was calmer at the other end, ticking off singles.
But in a late twist to the day, left-arm spinner Zia got Campher to nick behind to Gurbaz for 49. Two overs later, nightwatcher and the third of Ireland's first-timers, Theo van Woerkom, was bowled for 1 with what was a classical delivery that drifted in and turned away.
However, Tector and Paul Stirling took Ireland to the end of the day without further damage.

Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo