Pakistan beat Ireland by five wickets in one-off Test
17 May, 2018, 02:02 | Author: Lynne Higgins
Ireland's historic Test debut ended in a five-wicket defeat, but only after they had given Pakistan a major scare on the final day at Malahide.
Pakistan 310 for 9 December & 160 for 5 (Imam-ul-Haq 74*, Babar Azam 59; Tim Murtagh 2 for 55) beat Ireland 130 all out & 339 all out (Ed Joyce 43, Kevin O'Brien 118, Stuart Thompson 53; Mohammad Aamer 3 for 63, Mohammad Abbas 5 for 55) by 5 wickets.
Ireland, making their debut in men's Test cricket, was bowled out for 339 in their second innings after being made to follow-on.
There will be more one-sided and hard five-day Tests ahead for Porterfield and his side in foreign climes and conditions, where the lack of strike bowlers and a genuine spinner will be exposed, and Ireland will soon have to face those challenges without their greatest batsman Ed Joyce who may now finally retire his creaking bones while still firmly gripping that cherished cap.
The Pakistan spearhead went off just 3.2 overs into his spell during the second innings of Ireland's inaugural Test on Sunday with a recurrence of a "chronic" left knee problem. Three overs later, when Haris Sohail was caught by Ed Joyce at gully off the bowling of Boyd Rankin, the Irish camp was buzzing.
Chasing 160, Imam (74 not out) and Azam (59) forged a crucial partnership to guide Pakistan to a comfortable victory after the visitors had slipped to 14/3.
Imam's 126-run fourth wicket stand with Babar Azam was enough to break the Irish resistance, but only after Andy Balbirnie let an opportunity to send Babar back to the dressing room early slip through his fingers at third slip.
Following-on, Ireland started the fourth day on 64 without loss.
Niall O'Brien, after enduring a 10-ball duck in the first innings, was much more positive this time, which was fortunate because the scoreboard would have stopped otherwise as William Porterfield faced 25 balls without scoring. It was our first Test match and it was tough on the first day, we struggled a bit with the emotions.
There were a few nerves but the way we fought in the second innings was a great effort. It's something that's been talked about during big occasions, World Cups.
"But Test cricket is Test cricket for a reason, it's there in the name; you do get tested and we were after the first innings".
This was a game to display the true folly of the ICC's exclusionary policy in Test cricket with Ireland showing that the game's oldest form could only benefit from fresh blood, that the sport is only dying out while its governing body allows it to.
Balbirnie, who had bagged a pair with the bat, finally had something to cheer when he ran out Babar from cover with 20 runs required, the outgoing batsman having secured his fifth Test fifty from 89 balls by slamming a Stuart Thompson no-ball to the fence.
Pakistan now heads to England for a two-test series, starting next week at Lord's.
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