Sport

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ireland struggle in the field as Afghanistan gain upper hand

Niall O'Brien and Ireland endured a tough day
Niall O'Brien and Ireland endured a tough day

Afghanistan were in command on 357 for six after day one of their Intercontinental Cup clash with Ireland in the heat and humidity of Greater Noida.

Captain Ashgar Stanikzai led the way for Afghanistan with 110 not out, with opener Mohammad Shahzad (85) and Nasir Jamal (73) also in fine touch.

John Anderson and Andrew McBrine snared two wickets apiece but it was very much Afgnanistan's day.

Ireland lost the toss and must have known they were in for a hard day's graft on a slow pitch which offered no assistance to the seamers, and so it proved.

McBrine took the only wicket of the morning session, trapping Shabir Noori for 15, but S hahzad and Rahmat Shah (46) added 106 for the second wicket before both were dismissed by leg-spinner Anderson (two for 68).

Stanikzai and Jamal shared a 144-run fourth-wicket partnership, the former smashing five sixes and seven fours in his impressive unbeaten knock.

Their stand was broken late on by Peter Chase with the second new ball, Jamal feathering a wide delivery to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien.

McBrine then had Shahidi caught at slip by Gary Wilson for two, and the hard-hitting Mohammad Nabi (11) holed out to Chase at mid-off off the bowling of George Dockrell to give Ireland some reward for their toils.

But centurion Stanikzai was very much still there at stumps, alongside Afsar Zazai (six not out).

Press Association

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