World News

Ireland impress in maiden Test before Pakistan pair launch a counter-attack

Ireland impress in maiden Test before Pakistan pair launch a counter-attack

With the entire first-day's play lost to rain, Ireland skipper William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bowl first on a juicy pitch at the Village, Malahide.

Pakistan opener Azhar Ali attempted to scoot through for a quick single and Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of former global batsman Inzamam, collided with Niall O'Brien, forcing a delay while he was attended to.

Shadab Khan was 25 not out and Faheem Ashraf, making his debut, 15 not out at the interval.

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.

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.

The 22-year-old was left flat on the ground and needed treatment on the field, but the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former captain Inzamam-ul-Haqrecovered to bat.

Murtagh and Boyd Rankin, who previously played a Test match for England, opened the bowling, with Kane, Stuart Thompson and Kevin O'Brien providing the first change options.




Rankin, the former England worldwide 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.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in. Last time, Pakistan enforced a follow-on was against New Zealand in Lahore in 2002.

"It was a magic feeling to get my first wicket, I was happy for Boyd to take the first and then to get the next one, next ball was special", said Murtagh. Batting on 60, Shafiq hit a Rankin short-ball straight into the hands of square-leg as Pakistan went from 71-2 to 159-6.

Rankin and Thompson removed Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed respectively before Ashraf and Khan steered Pakistan to the close.

Faheem, however, did have a break when, on 36, he edged Rankin only for a diving Niall O'Brien to miss the catch and give the obscured Gary Wilson at first slip no chance of taking the ball. Paul Stirling, with the match ball raised high in his right hand after a sharp catch, was hailing the noisy supporters at the Malahide Castle end of Test cricket's newest venue.

The players came off just after that for bad light and thunder and heavy showers meant they would not return, with Shadab on 52 and Ashraf on 61.


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