Rashid Khan takes five, Afghanistan in sight of maiden Test win

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DEHRADUN:  Spinner Rashid Khan claimed five wickets to put Afghanistan in sight of their maiden Test victory after bowling out Ireland for 288 on day three of the one-off game on Sunday.

Chasing 147 to win, Afghanistan were 29 for one at stumps. Ihsanullah Janat, on 16, and Rahmat Shah, on 11, were batting at close of play in Dehradun.

Spinner Andy McBrine had opener Mohammad Shahzad caught behind for two before Janat and Shah, who made 98 in Afghanistan’s first innings total of 314, played out the last few overs of the day.

Ireland batsmen Andy Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien had earlier hit half-centuries before Khan returned career-best figures of 5-82 to bowl out Ireland in the final session of play.

“Feeling happy to get some wickets for the team when the team needed me,” Rashid Khan, who has taken seven wickets in the match, told reporters.

“It was tough to grip the new ball because I had a finger injury and tough for me to pitch it on the right length as was paining a lot,” he said, referring to the injured middle finger of his bowling arm.

Balbirnie made 82 and O’Brien 56 before a 10th-wicket 58-run partnership between James Cameron-Dow and Tim Murtagh set up a potentially tricky chase for the Afghans.

Cameron-Dow was left unbeaten on 32 after number 11 Murtagh, who hit 54 not out in Ireland’s first innings score of 172, was the last man out on 27.

“I am not surprised, if you have seen Test cricket even tailenders have records,” said Rashid Khan.

“Plan was to bowl as many good deliveries as possible. But they chose the right deliveries to score and that’s how they made runs.”

Both sides are playing their second Test after making their debuts in the five-day format last year.

Afghanistan lost to India inside two days in Bangalore while Ireland went down to Pakistan in Dublin.

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