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Andrew Balbirnie hopes maiden Test win will inspire next generation

Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie was hopeful that the team's maiden Test victory on Friday would inspire people to take up red-ball cricket.

In their eighth Test match seven years after making their first appearance in the format, Ireland registered their maiden victory, a terrific six-wicket win over Afghanistan at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

"It's a lot bigger than cricket," skipper Balbirnie said after the Test victory, where his fourth-innings knock played a crucial role.

"Hopefully, we will inspire some people back home to want to be Test match cricketers and hopefully we can back them up to do it."

Ireland were on top for most of the Test match, taking a 108-run lead in the first innings and then delivering another good performance with the ball to lower their target. 

The only hiccup came in the fourth innings, when the side were reduced to 13/3 in a run-chase of 111. But Balbirnie's fighting half-century and partnership with Lorcan Tucker took the side home.

"With the score [target] like that, you are one partnership away, the more time we spent there, the easier it got," Balbirnie said.

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"Obviously there were nerves, we were chasing our first win, but I knew if I could settle in there, we could win."

"We knew it would be attritional stuff, probably swung a bit more on that first day, but we still had to bowl well and create chances," Balbirnie said.

"And I think we did that. The spinners came into the game as well, created chances, tied down ends when they needed to as well. It was just an all-round performance and I think we deserved it.

"From the first day we won a lot of sessions out there and to win our first Test, we are absolutely ecstatic."

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The skipper acknowledged that they haven't played a lot of Test cricket over the years, but was confident that when the opportunities do come along, his side would be more than ready for it.

We know that we are not going to get 10-15 Tests a year, that's fine," Balbirnie said. "But when we do get the opportunity, we are going to do our best to create result and create history.

"We have done that now. It is nice to get the monkey off the back. There was a list coming up the screen every so often about how when the first Test win came. Very special to be a part of the group to do that."

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