Porterfield knows Ireland must make better first impressions in Test cricket
Afghanistan complete seven-wicket Test victory in Dehradun
Afghanistan batsman Rahmat Shah made 72 to help sis side secure a seven-wicket victory over Ireland in the Test match at Dehradun, India.
Captain William Porterfield believes Ireland will have to put their first-innings batting horror shows behind them to stand any chance of success in Test cricket over the coming years.
Afghanistan knocked off the remaining runs required in 32 overs to complete a seven-wicket victory in the one-off Test at Dehradun in northern India on Monday, completing the victory just after noon on the fourth day.
Two wickets fell in the 48th over before Hashmatullah Shahidi hit Ireland spinner James Cameron-Dow for the winning boundary.
Porterfield pointed out that Ireland’s failure to post a decent first-innings total left them behind the eight ball from the start of the match, with a 10th-wicket stand of 87 between Tim Murtagh and George Dockrell rescuing their side as Ireland make 172.
Ireland also struggled in their debut Test match in the first innings, making 130 against Pakistan at Malahide last May after having at one stage slipped to seven for four.
“It was obviously going to be a tough ask today defending 147, but it was the first innings where it went wrong for us,” admitted Porterfield, who made nine and a duck at the top of the order.
“I thought at the time that winning the toss was a big toss to win, and any multi-day game you have to capitalise in the first innings.
“If we had done that, if we had batted remotely like we did in the second innings in that first innings, then I think it could have been a completely different game.
“But take nothing away from Afghanistan and how they played, they played well throughout the game and came out deserved winners.”
The Test defeat wraps up a long tour for Ireland that started at the beginning of February. After losing the Twenty20 series 3-0 they bounded back to draw the one-day series against Afghanistan 2-2.
Five players made their Test debuts in Dehradun, with an historic four-day Test at Lord’s in July the next game up in the format.
Porterfield knows that Test cricket is a hard learning ground regardless of experience and praised the newcomers as Ireland continue a period of transition.
“This was our second Test, with five lads making their debut, but I’m very happy with the lads that came in, how they went about the game and how they prepared.
“You obviously want them to kick on and make big contributions – we just didn’t do that in the first innings and from there you’re always looking at coming back into the game.
“However, Afghanistan never let us do that, so you have to give congratulations to them.
“It’s been a long tour – the lads had been in Oman before they came here – and to see the same ground and the same hotel every day can get a little long, but the lads have been very good, and when you have a Test match at the back end of the tour then you’re never tired of being here.
“It’s a special occasion to play Test cricket, and we’re lucky enough to have done that now.”
Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan was thrilled that his side secured a first Test win at the second time of asking after they suffered a humiliating defeat by and innings and 262 runs against India in Bangalore last June.
“It’s a historic day for Afghanistan, for our team and our people,” said Asghar.
“We have been playing for a while, we have been playing first-class cricket, so we have that composure.
“The bowlers were very good, Rashid [Khan], Yamin [Ahmadzai]. Now we’re going to South Africa for World Cup preparation. We will try our best to play good cricket.”
Leg-spinner Khan finished the match with seven wickets, including a maiden five-wicket Test haul in Ireland’s second innings.
Led by 82 from Andrew Balbirnie and a half-century from Kevin O’Brien, Ireland made 288 in their second innings on a slow Dehradun pitch.
James McCollum also impressed in the second innings on his Test debut before becoming the first of Khan’s victims.
Ireland 172 (60 ovs) (T Murtagh 54no, G Dockrell 39, P Stirling 26; M Nabi 3-36, Y Ahmadzai 3-41, R Khan 2-20, W Salamkheil 2-35) & 288 (93 ovs) (A Balbirnie 82, K O’Brien 56, J McCollum 39, J Cameron-Dow 39, T Murtagh 27, G Dockrell 25; R Khan 5-82, Y Ahmadzai 3-52, W Salamkheil 2-66) lost to Afghanistan 314 (106.3 ovs) (R Shah 98, A Afghan 67, H Shahidi 61, M Shahzad 40; S Thompson 3-28, G Dockrell 2-63, A McBrine 2-77, J Cameron-Dow 2-94) & 149-3 (47.5 ovs) (R Shah 76, Ihsanullah 65no) by 7 wkts .