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Afghanistan v Ireland 2024

Ireland beat Afghanistan to secure historic first-ever men’s Test victory

Andrew Balbirnie raises his bat in celebration
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Ireland beat Afghanistan by six wickets in Abu Dhabi today (March 1) to secure their first-ever Test match win, almost six years after playing their first match in the format.

In a helter-skelter encounter that ended before the close of the third day’s play, Andrew Balbirnie saw Ireland over the line with an unbeaten half-century in the fourth innings run chase.

Having bowled Afghanistan out before Tea for 218, Ireland lost quick wickets in their chase of 111. Naveed Zadran struck twice in consecutive balls to get rid of Peter Moor and Curtis Campher, before Nijat Masood found the faintest of edges on Harry Tector’s bat to get him caught behind. In the third over after Tea, Zia-ur-Rehman got Paul Stirling edged to slip to leave Ireland in trouble at 39-4.

However, an unbeaten partnership between Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker got the tourists over the line comfortably in the end, sealing Ireland’s first win in the format.

The match in Abu Dhabi was Ireland’s eighth men’s Test match since they were granted full membership in 2017. Their first Test match was played against Pakistan in Maldehide the following year, with Afghanistan becoming their second opponent in 2019. In their first encounter against Afghanistan, Ireland lost by seven wickets in Dehradun.

Since then, Ireland have played Test matches against England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, with their win against Afghanistan being their fifth Test match in the last 12 months. They played two Test matches against Sri Lanka in April last year, losing both by over an innings, and lost to England by ten wickets at Lord’s last June.

Balbirnie has featured in all eight of Ireland’s Test matches to date, the win against Afghanistan being his fifth Test as captain. Earlier in the match, Mark Adair claimed his first Test five wicket haul to bowl Afghanistan out in their first innings. He finished the match with figures of 8-95, the best match-figures by an Ireland bowler in a Test match.

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