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Ireland go past Team India with maiden Test victory over Afghans

Ireland after beating Afghanistan by six wickets in the only Test on Saturday became the sixth-fastest team to clinch their inaugural Test victory eclipsing the accomplishments of established Test-playing nations such as India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and New Zealand.

Ireland’s route to this historic victory transpired quickly over just eight matches, spanning six years since their introduction into the red-ball format in 2018. This was despite their relative inexperience in Test cricket.

Australia’s first Test victory, against bitter rivals England, came in 1877 in their inaugural match, setting the standard for quick success. England and Pakistan won their second Test match, however India had to go through a longer process until they won their first Test match—against England in their 25th encounter.

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The fact that South Africa won their first Test match after playing in 12 matches and New Zealand achieved their first victory in the 45th match highlights the different paths that cricketing nations have taken to succeed in the esteemed format.

Facing a modest target of 111 runs for victory, Ireland stumbled early, finding themselves at a precarious 13 for 3 in their fourth innings. However, led by captain Andy Balbirnie’s unbeaten 58, supported by Lorcan Tucker’s 27 not out, they weathered the storm and overcame the Afghan challenge, sparking tears of joy among the traveling Irish fans as Tucker struck the historic winning run.

While Balbirnie’s masterful innings guided Ireland to victory on a challenging surface, it was their pace bowling trio of Barry McCarthy (3-48), Mark Adair (3-56), and Craig Young (3-24) that set the stage for the triumph. Combining forces, they dismantled the Afghan batting lineup, sharing nine crucial wickets in the third innings, restricting Afghanistan to a modest total of 218.

Adair’s pivotal breakthroughs, McCarthy’s precision, and Young’s incisive bowling laid the foundation for Ireland’s success, limiting Afghanistan’s lead to just 110 runs. Despite a stubborn lower-order resistance, Ireland’s disciplined bowling ensured they were tasked with a manageable target, one they pursued with determination and focus.

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