When you think about the T20I series between Afghanistan and Ireland in Dehradun 2019, it was completely one-sided, with Afghanistan winning 3-0. We then moved on to the ODI series and while Afghanistan looked like the more confident team in the series, it was shared 2-2. Now, we move to the ultimate test. A draw is unlikely and we could see one of these two teams walking away with their first Test win. Also, this will be the first time a country has won their first Test since 2005.
Yes, it’s a one-off test between the two. Ireland and Afghanistan both made their debut in Test cricket in the year gone by, but I must admit, Ireland were way better in their first game against Pakistan. Afghanistan on the other hand were blown away by India on their first outing, probably because they are more used to an attacking style of play. Regardless, here’s our fantasy preview of the only Test between Afghanistan and Ireland…
- Tournament: Afghanistan and Ireland in India, 2019
- Date: 15-19 March 2019, 9:30pm IST
- Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
- Capacity: 25,000+
- Series status: One-off Test Match
Form (recent first)
- Afghanistan: Lost
- Ireland: Lost
- This will be the joint second-fastest a country wins their first test match, after Australia in their 1st Test in 1877.
- 6 players in the Afghanistan squad are below the age of 21 years.
- William Porterfield only scored 42 runs in the 5-match ODI series.
- This will be the first ever Test match at this ground.
Much like Pakistan has adopted UAE, Afghanistan has adopted India as their ‘home ground’ so you would expect them to hold a 5% home advantage. While there are quite a few youngsters, please pick all the veterans for your fantasy side in this one-off Test match. With consecutive scores of 75, 54 and 82* in the last 3 ODIs, captain Asghar Afghan is in prime form. His ODI career strike rate is just around 64, so you can expect this 5-day format to suit him better.
The next person you definitely want in your fantasy side is Mohammad Nabi, who also had scores of 64 and 40 in the final two ODIs. His ability to pick up wickets as well as his consistent run scoring tempts me to make him my captain as well. Another young mystery spinner Zahir Khan will be in the squad, where Mujeeb Rahman is missing, so make sure you have the former in your team.
When Ireland gave Pakistan a run for their money in Malahide Club, it was Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin, and Stuart Thompson who picked up almost all the wickets to fall, but now, we’re in India. The spinners will play a much bigger role and while George Dockrell and Andy McBrine are good, they are clearly no match for Afghanistan’s ace spinner Rashid Khan, who is set to play despite nursing an injury.
The batting is going to depend so much on William Porterfield, who is now the most experienced in the team, given that Niall O’Brien and Ed Joyce have retired, and Gary Wilson is still out with an eyesight problem. Porterfield was very poor in the ODI series but he makes my fantasy side for this test in Dehradun, while Andy Balbirnie’s form in the ODIs also gets him entry into this team. When Kevin O’Brien played that only Test for Ireland, he also became their first Test centurion!
AFG vs IRE Punting
Place bets at BEST ODDS in the only Test
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— Read Scoops (@ReadScoops) March 14, 2019
My fantasy eleven
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