Ireland proud on Test debut even as Pakistan 'get away'


Ireland came to realise the realities of Test cricket after they were made to follow-on on the third day of the one-off Test against Pakistan at Malahide on Sunday.

By the time stumps were drawn early due to bad light after 76 overs, Pakistan had reached 286-6 in their first-innings.

There was drama at a sun-drenched Malahide even before the wickets fell, with Pakistan debutant Imam-ul-Haq injured off the first ball of the match.

It was not the start either side wanted with Pakistan keen to avoid early wickets and Ireland desperate to get on with the game after the Friday washout cost Cricket Ireland €75,000 (£66,000) in ticket refunds.

Non-striker Imam, in scrambling to complete the run, found himself sandwiched between wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien and Tyrone Kane in a heavy collision.

The 22-year-old left-hander was left flat on the ground and needed several minutes' treatment on the field.

It did not take long for Ireland to make a stunning double strike.

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Rankin, the former England global and only Irish player with test experience, had the honour of Ireland's first test wicket when Azhar Ali (4) edged him to second slip in the eighth over.

Pakistan had resumed their innings in a more comfortable position than looked likely after being reduced to 159 for 6, but Ireland did not take long to break through with the second new ball - although Shadab was perhaps unlucky to be given out lbw to a delivery from Tim Murtagh that looked to be missing leg stump.

But Haris Sohail quickly became the next victim as he was out for 31 and Babar Azam made 14 before Murtagh struck to reduce Pakistan to 104-4.

Ed Joyce and William Porterfield's unbroken stand of 64 moved the Irish to within 116 of Pakistan's total. Fast bowler Mohammad Amir picked two wickets while Faheem Ashraf chipped in with a wicket as well. He then pulled up after bowling two balls of a fourth over - having sent down 10 in the first innings - shortly before the close, leaving Pakistan with a couple of unforeseen issues to contemplate overnight.

"So did the coach, Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz (Ahmed, the Pakistan captain), especially after the retirements of Misbah and Younis, so it's now my responsibility to take that number four position". Gary Wilson finished unbeaten on 33 runs.

Duly reprieved, he went to fifty in just 52 balls, including seven fours, with Shadab following him to the landmark in 89 balls.