Murtagh's best innings gets Ireland back on track
Tim Murtagh delivered the best innings of his long career in north-east India yesterday, striking an unbeaten half-century to give Ireland a toehold in their one-off Test match against Afghanistan after the embarrassment of a shambolic collapse.
Veteran Murtagh, who was considered an all-rounder a decade ago, arrived at the crease without a half-century since 2011 and with Ireland in disarray at 85-9 - in itself a small recovery from the depths of 69-8 that were plumbed immediately after lunch.
In a partnership with the ever-improving George Dockrell that began with the modest ambition of getting Ireland past 100, he added an impressive 87 for the last wicket and claimed the joint-11th highest score by any No11 in Tests.
The 38-year-old also hit Ireland's first two sixes in Test cricket, fitting perhaps for someone dubbed 'the Lambeth Lara' by his adoring Middlesex fans, as well as four fours, in a 75-ball knock of 54 not out that was only cut short when Dockrell was caught behind for 39.
A total of 172 was well short of the 275-300 runs Ireland would have targetted when William Porterfield won the toss. In reply, Afghanistan closed on 90-2, with left-arm spinner James Cameron-Dow claiming both wickets.