MARK ADAIR led a superb seam bowling display that dismissed hosts Afghanistan for 155 yesterday and put Ireland in a strong position after the first day of the one-off Test at the Tolerance Oval.

The 27-year-old Belfast all-rounder struck two crucial early blows, took another two wickets in his second spell after lunch and came back to finish off the hosts for figures of 5-39, the third best return by an Ireland bowler in eight Tests.

On a surprisingly responsive pitch - not unlike the one at Lord’s where he took three wickets to help bowl out England for 85 in 2019 - Adair found late movement and used the short ball intelligently to put Afghanistan on the back foot in both senses.

He received excellent support from fellow seamers Curtis Campher, Craig Young and Barry McCarthy who maintained probing lengths and accuracy as they all returned Test-best figures, albeit the latter two on debut.

Campher, in his new role at No 3, then set about the hosts’ attack with seven boundaries and a six in a crisp innings of 49, allowing Ireland to close on 100-4, with their best batters Harry Tector and Paul Stirling at the crease.

“It was definitely our day,” Adair said. “If you’d have told me this morning that we’d have ended up 50-odd runs behind with wickets in hand, I’d have been over the moon.

“Their top is strong in all forms of cricket and it was really nice to get Rahmat Shah early doors. There was a little bit in the pitch which we didn’t really expect because I think we’d have batted too if we’d have won the toss.”

Afghanistan recovered from the loss of their best batter, who was bowled third ball for a duck, to reach lunch on 86-3 before Adair and Young in tandem reduced them to 111-7.

“When I’d got to four wickets I was asking Bal  [skipper Andy Balbirnie] for more overs,” Adair said. “Fair play to him, it probably wasn’t the right call to bring me back on at that point but I’m delighted he did - and obviously delighted with the five wickets.”

One thing Balbirnie must do in the Afghan second innings is work on his use of the DRS system, as Ireland burned two reviews but also failed to appeal two other lbws that were later shown to be hitting.

The skipper also reviewed the lbw decision that sent him packing for two in the fourth over, while fellow opener PJ Moor was bowled by a no-ball and overturned an lbw decision before his painful stay ended on 12.

Campher and Tector (32 not out) put Ireland in command with a third-wicket partnership of 60, but the former grazing a catch behind and nightwatchman Theo van Woerkom falling for a single boosted the hosts in the final half hour.