AFGHANISTAN VS IRELAND, 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Murtagh’s 54 dragged Ireland past the 100-run mark © AFP
Ireland’s surprise half-centurion – and the No. 11 batsman – Tim Murtagh felt his team needs to rekindle the fight they showed in their maiden Test against Pakistan to salvage the ongoing fixture in Dehradun against Afghanistan. Ireland suffered a batting implosion on Day 1 after deciding to bat first, with only three among the first 10 batsmen in the line-up getting to double figures.
Murtagh then entered the scene with a 75-ball 54 to frustrate an Afghanistan side that had reduced Ireland to 85 for 9 and were on course to bowl the opposition out for a sub-100 total.
Murtagh was referring to second innings comeback from his side in Malahide last May, where they batted out of their skins to push Pakistan to work harder for their win.
“We have got to dig deep and sort of relive that spirit in Malahide where we came back well in the second innings and scored a good score there. When it is our turn to bat again, I think it is obviously going to be tricky but we are going to have to dig deep and show that same spirit,” Murtagh said.
Ireland got past the 100-run mark courtesy a final-wicket stand worth 85 runs with George Dockrell. “The ball became softer and the conditions were fairly decent to bat. And it was nice to get a partnership with George.”
“I wanted to get the team to three figures first. That was my first goal. And then it was nice to contribute with the bat. The day started very well with 37-0 then after not many overs we lost our way. I had to do bit of repair job which we did to some extent,” Murtagh added.
After Murtagh’s repair job, James Cameron removed both the Afghanistan openers, but they finished with a massive upper hand – at 90/2. Murtagh expects a scrap in the morning session of Day 2. “We are going to have to scrap in the morning and pick up as many early wickets as we can and try and restrict them to as few as we can in the first innings because 170 in the first innings in not ideal.”
“We would have been hoping to get 250-plus on that pitch. Knowing that it has had a lot of cricket during the course of the T20s and ODI series, knowing that we weren’t going to bat last, it was definitely an advantage. We have given that back to them a little bit there,” he said.