Set a mammoth 521 to chase in the final innings, England’s troubles were compounded on day four with Ishant Sharma striking in the very first over.
Resuming from their overnight score of 23-0, the hosts lost Keaton Jennings to the fifth ball of the day after he was caught behind off the bowling of Ishant. The Indian pacer struck again in his next over when he found the edge off Alastair Cook’s bat which was safely claimed by KL Rahul at second slip.
Joe Root and Ollie Pope then briefly resisted the Indian attack before Jasprit Bumrah brought an end to their partnership. The Indian pacer had Root (13) caught at second slip as England were reduced to 62-3. In the very next over, Mohammed Shami dismissed Pope with Kohli completing an excellent catch in the slip cordon. The hosts were placed at 84-4 when lunch was taken on day four.
Post lunch, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler have resisted the Indian attack and have formed a stubborn partnership. Buttler, who was dropped on one by Rishabh Pant, brought up a fine half-century as India remain in search for a fifth wicket. The duo remained unbeaten as the tea break arrived with the score at 174-4.
England resumed steadily and Buttler’s uncharacteristically conservative innings fittingly brought up his maiden Test ton, with Stokes also remaining entrenched at the crease after tea. However, when Buttler shouldered arms to Bumrah, India gained a vital breakthrough.
And it looked all but over when the injured Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes fell in swift succession to a lethal Bumrah, who swiftly completed his five-for. He and Hardik Pandya reduced England to 311-9, with Adil Rashid and Jimmy Anderson hanging on for dear life at stumps.
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Young Hazratullah Zazai was the star of the show for the Afghans with the opening batsman smashing 74 from just 33 balls with the help of eight boundaries and six sixes.
In a game reduced to 18 overs per side, due to a rain delay, Afghanistan posted 160-7 after being made to bat first by Ireland skipper Gary Wilson.
They were given a sensational start by Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad who added 87 runs for the first wicket. The former was in belligerent mood as the racked up 74 of the 87 runs in the partnership before being dismissed by Simi Singh.
The 20-year-old batsman brought up his half-century off just 22 deliveries as more than 80 runs came off the first seven overs of the innings.
The visitors’ batting collapsed towards the end of the innings as five wickets fells for just nine runs but Zazai’s show had ensured the Afghanistan would pose a daunting total. 18-year-old spinner Joshua Little was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland with impressive figures of 2-20 from his four overs.
In reply, Ireland never got going with spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman picking up the wickets of Stuart Thompson and William Porterfield with the new ball.
Paul Stirling (27) and Wilson (34) put up a brief fight but a three-wicket haul for ace leg-spinner Rashid Khan put the brakes on Ireland’s innings as Afghanistan completed a comfortable win.
The second T20 between the two sides will also take place at the Bready Cricket Club on Wednesday.
Afghanistan: 160-7 (18 overs)
Hazratullah Zazai: 74 (33)
Joshua Little: 2-20 (4 overs)
Ireland: 144-9 (18 overs)
Gary Wilson: 34 (23)
Rashid Khan: 3-35 (4 overs)
Michael Vaughan has labelled Virat Kohli the best batsman in the world across all formats after the India skipper registered his 23rd Test ton on Monday to put the visitors in command of the third Test against England at Trent Bridge.
Kohli followed up his 97 in the first innings with a 103 in the second as India imposed a target of 521 for England to chase in the final innings.
The former England skipper believes Kohli’s ability to succeed in all three formats separates him from the rest of the pack.
“There are many really great players but he is the stand-out across all the three formats of this era by a country mile,” Vaughan told BBC’s Test Match Special.
“He’s got the gift to play all around the wicket in every single format,” he added.
The India skipper has banished his demons from the 2014 tour of England where he could only garner 134 runs in 10 innings at an average of 13.40.
He is currently the leading run-scorer in the series by some distance having scored 440 runs in six innings at an average of 73.33.
England’s Jonny Bairstow is the second highest run-scorer in the series with 206 runs.
“He is a wonder player. There were questions about if he could bat in English conditions. No question in my mind; he is the best batsman in the world across all three formats. He is an unbelievable player,” said Vaughan.
His views were echoed by England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace who believes his side’s batsmen could learn from the way Kohli has gone about his business in the series.
“You would be hard pressed to argue against him being seen as the best player in the world at the moment,” Farbrace said.
“The way that he has developed, he has played fantastically in this series. I like the way that he plays the game. It’s fantastic to see someone playing the game in that way.
“He’s a high-quality player and he’s shown that he’s learned a lot on this tour alone. He deserves the runs that he’s scored.
“Our bowlers might argue that he’s been given too many chances, but he’s shown he is high quality.
“I’m a big believer in players learning from players. Our players should be watching the way he has played.”