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Tim Murtagh rescued Ireland with his maiden Test half-century batting at No.11

Murtagh calls on Ireland to 'relive the spirit in Malahide'

Ire v Afg, Only Test, day 1, reaction

Tim Murtagh, Ireland's No. 11, who struck a half-century on day one of their only Test against Afghanistan, said that Ireland need to show the same spirit that they did in Malahide, in their first-ever Test, against Pakistan, when they bounced back in the second innings and pushed their opponents.

Murtagh's 75-ball 54 revived Ireland from a dire 85/9, saving them from being dismissed for a sub-100 total in Dehradun on Friday, 15 March. 

Murtagh added 87 runs for the tenth wicket with George Dockrell (39), and took Ireland to 172, before Afghanistan finished the day on 90/2, trailing by 82 runs. The fast bowler hoped that the batsmen would put on a better show in the second innings, like they did against Pakistan.

"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," Murtagh said. "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."

Ireland were nine down within the first hour of the second session on day one, and Murtagh said his first aim after coming out to bat was to get the team to three figures. "The ball became softer and the conditions were fairly decent to bat. And it was nice to get a partnership with George," he said.

"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."

Although Ireland managed to dismiss both the Afghanistan openers, the hosts still hold the upper hand, with two set batsmen at the crease and a middling deficit to overcome. "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," Murtagh said.

"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."

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