Ireland off to flying start as inaugural Test begins

Ruben Holloway
May 13, 2018

Ireland's staggering 144-year wait for Test cricket was a memorable one to say the least after two Irish players smashed into Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq in the opening ball of the match, leaving him dazed and confused on the floor.

Ali's batting partner Ul-Haq, who just so happened to be making his Test debut for Pakistan, then bolted down the pitch in the other direction.

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 youngster, 22, was left wounded on the floor, but he eventually managed to regain his focus and continue.

History was made on Saturday as Ireland became the 11th nation to compete in a Test match when they stepped on the field to comete against Pakistan.

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The hosts would have had more to celebrate on the day had they found a way to get rid of Shadab Khan (52 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (61 not out), but they won't be too disappointed in the way their opening day in Test cricket unfolded.

At tea, Tim Murtagh and fellow pacemen Rankin and Stuart Thompson had taken two wickets each.

Pakistan were 268 for six when bad light and then rain brought the second day at Malahide to a premature close.

Rankin had an uncertain Azhar (four) edging to Porterfield at second slip.

Barely had the crowd's cheers subsided when Pakistan were 13-2 off the very next ball.

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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.

After a few near run-outs, Pakistan's third-wicket duo settled in - Shafiq square-cut Kane for four, with left-hander Haris Sohail glancing Stuart Thompson for a legside boundary.

Shafiq went on to complete a 107-ball fifty when he pulled Rankin for a single.

Porterfield used all five of his seam bowlers before lunch but it was Pakistan that carried the momentum into the break, going in on 67 for two with Haris on 28 and Shafiq 22.

As luck would have it, Pakistan staged the second fight back, and this time they really did show stomach for the fight as Shadab and Ashraf stitched together an unbeaten 109-run stand for the seventh-wicket before the rain arrived and curtailed played by eleven overs.

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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed would also fall before tea, Thompson taking his second wicket with Stirling again taking the catch at second slip after a wafted effort from the batsman.

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