Number 11 Murtagh lifts Ireland after Afghanistan spin attack

Yamin Ahmadzai celebrates after getting a wicket. (AFP pic)

DEHRADUN: Number 11 Tim Murtagh hit a defiant half-century to lift Ireland to 172 after Afghanistan spinners wreaked havoc on the opening day of the one-off Test between the cricketing minnows on Friday.

Murtagh, who remained unbeaten at 54, and George Dockrell, who made 39, put together an 87-run 10th-wicket stand to give Ireland a respectable outcome after they were left reeling at 85-9 in Dehradun.

Paceman Yamin Ahmadzai and off-spinner Mohammed Nabi took three wickets each to rattle the opposition batting after Ireland elected to bat first.

Opener Paul Stirling gave the team a brisk start with his 26 but Ireland’s batting collapsed to 69-7 at lunch.

Nabi combined with wrist spinners Rashid Khan and Waqar Salamkheil — who took two wickets each — to run through Ireland’s top and middle order.

But Murtagh, a right-arm fast bowler who bats left-handed, registered his 11th first-class fifty to get a standing ovation from the Afghanistan dressing room.

Both sides are playing their second Test after making their five-day debut last year.