Pakistan repel Ireland fightback with five-wicket win
16 May, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
Ireland started their Test journey with a five-wicket loss to Pakistan, who rode on sedate knocks from debutant Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam to eventually romp home without much hiccups on the final day of the historic Test here on Tuesday.
Five balls later Pakistan were shell-shocked, the scoreboard remarkably reading 14 for three, as Murtagh took his second wicket of the day with the Ireland strike bowler sending an absolute corker down the track and straight through between bat and off stump, as Asad Shafiq was out for a solitary run.
"It's really good that these two young players in our team, Imam-ul-haq and Babar Azam, the way they played, they showed their character and confidence".
Ireland had added just 20 to their overnight 319/7, Kevin O'Brien failing to add to the magnificent 118 he compiled on the fourth day, falling to his first ball on the fifth morning, caught at slip off Mohammad Abbas going for a booming drive.
No blushes ultimately for Pakistan but they were forced to work very hard following a spirited comeback from Ireland's cricketeers who enjoyed their maiden test despite their defeat today in Malahide.
That wasn't to be the only remarkable moment of Ireland's initiation as a Test match nation.
"To get up to close to 350 showed what we've got in the changing room and the passion that we have for playing our cricket".
At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls.
Thompson then pinned Sarfraz Ahmed in front but Pakistan got over the line prior to tea, with Imam unbeaten on 74.
It was just after 6.15pm that Kevin O'Brien pushed a ball from Mohammad Amir through the covers for runs that made him a national cricketing hero, for the second time in his career.
When Pakistan slipped to 14 for three in pursuit of 160, the Irish were in with a sniff of marking their inaugural men's Test with a victory to compare with any.
Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, saw the tourists to victory with a total of 160 for five.
The now 26-year-old Amir's cricket career nearly came to an end following his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord's. But overall, all the lads are delighted and they all played a roll throughout the game, so it is great for ourselves and it gives us a lot of belief.
Ireland can be extremely proud and their display gave a basis to compete on equal terms and they certainly do not look like the new boys of Test cricket. Test cricket needed a good story and Ireland provided this with a respective performance and subsequent justification of their status in Test cricket.
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.
O'Brien was just the fourth player to reach three figures in his country's first men's Test, with Australia's Charles Bannerman, Zimbabwe's Dave Houghton and Bangladesh's Animul Islam the others.
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